'Kiss-in' a mild response to Chick-fil-A appreciation day
There was a lot of snackin' but no smoochin' Friday evening at the Chick-fil-A restaurant in Schaumburg, which like others across the country had readied for "National Same-Sex Kiss Day."
Circulated on Facebook and Twitter, the "kiss in" was meant to be a counter to Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's call for Chick-fil-A "appreciation day" on Wednesday. That drew huge crowds to restaurants in Schaumburg, Lombard and Wheaton, among others, to support restaurant President Dan Cathy's opposition to same-sex marriage.
At Friday's counter-demonstration, activists were encouraged to kiss a fellow demonstrator.
At the Schaumburg store on Golf Road, police were on hand but were not needed. The restaurant was crowded and the stream of customers was still constant at 7 p.m. when the protest was to have started.
A trio of friends — Ashley Rubin, 17, of South Elgin, Liz Sibrava, 17, of St. Charles and Peter Mikes of South Elgin, 18 — toted a homemade cardboard sign in the public right of way near Golf Road. One side asked Chick-fil-A, "Y U Hate."
"We're trying to make our point and say this is discriminating, this statement against homosexuals," said Ashley Rubin.
Rubin's parents, Gary and Dayna, were along for support.
"I support my daughter and the fact that people who are homosexual deserve the same civil rights as everyone else," said Dayna Rubin.
Reporters for WBBM-AM radio spotted two women kissing outside the Aurora Chick-fil-A on Route 59 Friday. The women said they are heterosexual and work at Naperville North High School, frequently with gay and lesbian students, and are appalled at Cathy's attitude. Still, both said they respect his right to have his beliefs.
Several patrons at the Chick-fil-A in Lombard on Friday afternoon said they support gay rights but also believe Cathy or any business owner should have the right to speak freely.
Rick Pinson of Villa Park said he has gay friends and supports gay marriage, but he doesn't care what Chick-fil-A executives think. He just likes their food.
"The whole gay marriage issue is a legal issue not a religious issue to me," he said. "This should be a legal right they have. But who cares what Chick-fil-A thinks about it. I can make my own opinion."
Scott Wickman, who works in Oak Brook, said he agrees with the conservative values of Dan Cathy but supports gay activists' right to protest.
"We still have the First Amendment in America, thank God," he said.
Early on Friday, the Chick-fil-A corporation issued a response on its website: "At Chick-fil-A, we appreciate all of our customers and are glad to serve them at any time," Executive Vice President of Marketing Steve Robinson wrote.
"Our goal is simple: to provide great food, genuine hospitality and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A."
• Daily Herald staff writers Marie Wilson and Eric Peterson contributed to this report.
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