Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016
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Hundreds show support in Toledo for Chick-Fil-A

CTY-Chick-Fil-A

The line for Chick-Fil-A today extends out of the food court at Westfield Franklin Park and out the mall's door to the end of the sidewalk..

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
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An estimated 500 people lined up at the Chick-Fil-A in the Westfield Franklin Park today to show their support for traditional marriage.

After the fast food chain’s CEO came out in vocal opposition to gay marriage, gay rights activists proposed a Chick-Fil-A boycott last week. In response, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee deemed Wednesday Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day and urged supporters of heterosexual marriage to make their voices heard — by ordering chicken.

PHOTO GALLERY: Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day in Toledo

Debbie Castle made the hour-and-a-half drive to Chick-Fil-A with 11 members of her church, the Jeruel Baptist Church in Munith, Mich., after hearing about the campaign.

“I support the right to freedom of speech, the right to take a stand,” she said. “I support what they believe in — that marriage is between a man and a woman.”

Julie Heigel, spokesman for the mall, said that customers began lining up at 11:30 a.m. By 2 p.m., the line at Chick-Fil-A snaked across the food court, out of the mall, and around the corner.

Frazzled Chick-Fil-A employees pegged the turnout at 10 times higher than normal, and eager diners stood in line for more than two hours before receiving their food.

But despite the crowds and long wait, the atmosphere in the food court remained upbeat. Customers in line cheered those who had braved the line and were leaving with bags of chicken. Ms. Heigel said that no extra security personnel had been called, and no counter-protestors were present.

Contact Jessica Shor at: jshor@theblade.com or 419-724-6516

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