(ATLANTA) — After hundreds of thousands of people ate dinner at his restaurants on Wednesday for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, one Georgia family, a same-sex couple and their two daughters, has invited Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy to have dinner at their house.
But the dinner invitation from Marci Alt and wife Marlysa, who live near Chick-fil-A’s Atlanta headquarters, is no paltry piece of paper, it is backed by an online petition sponsored by Change.org, an online organizing platform for activists, and GLAAD, a gay rights advocacy group.
“I hope Mr. Cathy will join my family for dinner, where we can share a respectful dialogue about our faith, work and families here in Georgia,” Alt said in a statement. “It’s important that Mr. Cathy meet the people his company is donating millions to stand against.”
“I’ll even make chicken,” Alt added.
The invite comes on the heels of national outrage from the LGBT community after Cathy said that he was “guilty as charged” for supporting the, “biblical definition of the family unit.”
In support of Kathy’s comment — and of his First Amendment right to express it — customers nationwide flocked to the chain’s restaurants.
Alt, along with gay rights advocates across the country, plan to protest those comments and the company’s anti-gay marriage stance with National Same-Sex Kiss Day on Friday. Nearly 12,000 people have said on Facebook that they will head to Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country and pucker up with their same-sex partners.
GLAAD President Herndon Graddick said the protest stems not from Cathy’s comments, but from the millions of dollars his company has poured into “anti-gay hate groups.”
In 2010, WinShape, the non-profit foundation created by Cathy and largely supported by Chick-fil-A, gave more than $1 million to the Marriage & Family Foundation and $37,000 to the National Institute of Marriage, both of which promote defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
“Without question, Dan Cathy has every right to voice his opinions and beliefs,” Graddick said in a statement. “But he should meet and get to know the people that he’s speaking out against — the people who are harmed by his company’s multi-million dollar donations to anti-gay hate groups working to hurt everyday LGBT Americans and break apart loving families.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Matt McFarland, CNN
Selena Larson, CNN
Debra Goldschmidt, CNN
Aaron Smith, CNN Newswire