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Chick-Fil-A’s Friday Kiss-In Draws Smaller Response Than “Appreciation Day”

via L.A. Times Blog, L.A. Now

As part of the event, gay marriage advocates were encouraging same-sex couples to go to one of the chicken restaurants and take a photo or video of themselves kissing.

Huge crowds turned out Wednesday in a show of support for company President Dan Cathy, who ignited a national debate by publicly expressing his opposition to same-sex marriage. Critics have also said the company supports causes harmful to gays and lesbians.

The scene on Friday was much quieter at locations across the Southland.

Among those who came out to support gay marriage at Costa Mesa’s Chick-Fil-A on Friday afternoon was the Rev. Sarah Halverson of Fairview Community Church.

“I felt like it was an important opportunity to stand on behalf of love and inclusion and gay couples,” she said. “Love is love, and God has given us love to be shared.”

She said that although some Christians don’t believe in gay marriage, her understanding of Christianity is that God supports those who find love.

“There are Christians like us at Fairview that think that God gave every human being divine love,” she said.

She respects Cathy’s right to free speech, she said, but also exercised her own right to speak out against what she considers hate speech.

“We have the right to stand in disagreement with another’s speech,” she said.

At a Chick-fil-A in Torrance where vandals painted the words “Tastes Like Hate” on the side of the restaurant Thursday night, the “National Same-Sex Kiss Day” was off to a slow start.

A steady parade of cars made their way into the parking lot as diners strolled in and out of the restaurant. Some held signs that read “Jesus is the only answer.” Many said they were there in support of Chick-fil-A and denounced the vandalism.

“It’s a civil debate; it has nothing to do with defacing someone’s property,” said Alfonzo Rachel, 40, a Torrance resident who said he dines at the restaurant regularly.

Cole Donahoo, operator of the Torrance restaurant, declined to comment about Friday’s vandalism.

“I’m just trying to operate a business,” he said.

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