Supporters flock to Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day - Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

Supporters flock to Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day

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Cars wrap around a Chick-fil-A drive thru, Wednesday, August 1. Cars wrap around a Chick-fil-A drive thru, Wednesday, August 1.
A line of cars at a Newnan Chick-fil-A during Chick-fil-A appreciation day, Wednesday, August 1. (Photo sent in by FOX 5 viewer Gail Higgins) A line of cars at a Newnan Chick-fil-A during Chick-fil-A appreciation day, Wednesday, August 1. (Photo sent in by FOX 5 viewer Gail Higgins)
Customers flock to a Conyers Chick-fil-A on Wednesday, August 1. (Photo posted by Amanda McReynolds Clark on FOX 5's Facebook page) Customers flock to a Conyers Chick-fil-A on Wednesday, August 1. (Photo posted by Amanda McReynolds Clark on FOX 5's Facebook page)
ATLANTA -

Thousands of people packed Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country in support of the Atlanta-based chain on Wednesday. The support comes as the company faces a torrent of criticism over Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy comments last month.

During an interview with the Baptist Press, Cathy ignited the controversy when he responded to a question about the company's support of the traditional family.

"We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that," Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press.

People across metro Atlanta have shown they stand behind the company and its Christian values, with some FOX 5 viewers saying that they waited in line for nearly two hours today.

VIEWER PHOTOS: SUPPORTERS FLOOD METRO ATLANTA CHICK-FIL-A RESTAURANTS

"We love Chick-fil-A any day of the week, but we did come especially today because we knew that it was Chick-fil-A appreciation day and we appreciate Chick-fil-A and we believe that you should be able to protest, have an opinion and you shouldn't be penalized for it in any way," said Dawn Rainwater.

Many customers said that the political stance shouldn't stun anyone as the company openly advertises its conservative values including a policy of remaining closed on Sundays.

Still those customers say the crowds are about a lot more than a chicken sandwich.

"Don't mess with your rights…. is the conclusion. Everybody has the right to their opinion and to express that opinion. If you agree with it, stand with them and if you don't, then you just accept that it's their right to say it," said Rainwater.

At a Chick-fil-A in Villa Rica, a stream of vehicles snaked around the restaurant, stretched along the nearby access roads and extended out on to the highway.

Members of local church congregations say they came out to show their support for the restaurant's president and his stance on traditional marriage.

"Our youth group planned last week, once we found out about the Chick-fil-A day, to come and be here tonight," said Wally Dedman.

While there were a number of church groups that encouraged members to come to Chick-fil-A, most of the people FOX 5 talked to said they decided to come out on their own.

"See my sister is actually gay and has her partner as well, but it's not an issue about supporting gay or not supporting gay, it's a matter of saying that no one particular group should try and demonize a business for somebody's particular beliefs," said Patrick Ettel.

Stores said they were prepared for the large crowds with additional staff.

Opponents of the company's stance are planning "Kiss Mor Chiks" for Friday, when they are encouraging people of the same sex to show up at Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country and kiss each other. 

There has been no official word from Chick-fil-A on what sales were like. Some FOX 5 viewers say that at least one restaurant in Gwinnett County ran out of everything except ice cream and soft drinks.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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