Hungry families, tourists and locals visited Cal Poly’s Chick-fil-A on Wednesday to eat the restaurant’s signature chicken sandwiches and express their support of Chick-fil-A president and chief operating officer (COO) Dan Cathy’s public stance against gay marriage.
“Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” was announced last week by former Arkansas gov. Mike Huckabee after Cathy’s opinion on gay marriage was made public in a July 16 interview for the Baptist Press. While LGBT organizations called for a boycott of the chain, others, such as local small business owner Bruce Curtis, headed to a Chick-fil-A to show their support.
“We’re supporting Chick-fil-A because we’re supporting Chick-fil-A’s COO,” Curtis said.
Cathy simply made his personal beliefs public, and Curtis has been shocked by the anti-Chick-fil-A sentiment, he said.
Public officials such as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino have both stated they will make efforts to keep the chain out of their cities. Curtis said these statements are just an attempt to punish Cathy for having a “personal opinion.”
“I really think that is the lowest form of censorship,” Curtis said.
In response, both former presidential candidate Rick Santorum and Huckabee spoke out in favor of the chain, and called upon like-minded Americans to support Chick-fil-A as well.
So, to make his opinion known, Curtis stopped by campus to have some chicken for lunch.
The support for Chick-fil-A is not an attempt to condemn anybody, but a move in support of freedom of speech, Curtis said.
“We also believe people have a right to moral beliefs,” Curtis said.
Other people went further out of their way than Curtis to express their support. Bakersfield native Sonja Troncozo was vacationing in Morro Bay, but decided to visit Chick-fil-A with her family for lunch.
Troncozo even drove around for almost an hour before she was able to find the restaurant on campus, she said, but that didn’t stop her.
“We just came to eat,” Troncozo said.
Others, such as graphic communication junior Jamie Sinnett, said they didn’t let politics affect their dining choices.
Sinnett doesn’t agree with Cathy’s stance on gay marriage, but he still eats at Chick-fil-A because it’s tasty and close, he said.
“I’m buying Chick-fil-A because it’s convenient,” Sinnett said.
The day definitely resulted in greater business for the on-campus dining facility though, Chick-fil-A employee Ziggy Rodriguez said.
“It was really busy (Wednesday),” Rodriguez said.
Customers didn’t discuss politics, but several did thank him and offer support for the franchise, Rodriguez said.
Not all people were supporting Chick-fil-A on Wednesday. Business administration senior Moses Torreblanca said Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong on campus, because of Cathy’s public stance on marriage.
“In my opinion, since I strongly believe this way, I think people should boycott Chick-fil-A,” Torreblanca said.
Public support for gay marriage has risen in recent years, and Chick-fil-A, with the public stance against gay marriage, doesn’t belong on a campus that supports diversity and acceptance, Torreblanca said.
“To have an organization on campus trying to promote that is kind of contrary,” Torreblanca said.