VIENNA- Supporters came out Wednesday to the Chick-fil-A in Vienna to be a part of the Chick-fil-A appreciation Day being held nationwide.
People crowded into the restaurant on Grand Central Avenue throughout the day as staff continually worked to fill orders and meet customers' needs.
The special day was called for by Fox News commentator and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to allow people to show their support for the company. CEO Dan Cathy said in an interview he strongly supported the traditional religious view of marriage, being between a man and a woman.
Photo by Brett Dunlap
Crowds packed into the Chick-fil-A restaurant in Vienna Wednesday.
The stance has led to an outcry from the gay community accusing the company of being homophobic. The company has received political backlash, but also a lot of support from conservatives.
Some people came to the Vienna store with signs in support of Cathy's stance.
Leota Corbitt and Pati Peters of Parkersburg were sitting in the restaurant with a sign that said "Traditional Marriage."
''We are for traditional marriage,'' Corbitt said.
People were at the Vienna restaurant to express their values, Peters said.
''It is everyone standing up for what they believe in, traditional marriages and what is right according to the Bible,'' she said.
They were part of a group who came from Landmark Baptist Church.
''We are here to support our church and to support Chick-fil-A on their beliefs,'' Peters said.
At one point, all of those gathered in the restaurant began singing "God Bless America" and at its conclusion broke out in cheers and applause.
Paul Hickman of Waverly said he was impressed by the show of support from the community.
''We are just here to support Chick-fil-A and their stand with the Bible and biblical rights,'' he said. ''This is a Christian-based community and I think the people here support Christian values.''
Russell Wooten of Vienna said the show of support was not meant as hate against anyone; it was showing values many people share, he said.
''We are standing on the biblical principles,'' he said. ''This is not a hate issue.
''It is standing on God's word that marriage is between a man and a woman. We ought to support that in any way that we can. Hopefully, this will bring a big change in the direction that the country seems to be going at this time.''
Wanda Morehead of Marietta hoped Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country were seeing the kinds of crowds they were in Vienna.
''I am hoping this is happening all over the place,'' she said.
From the day Truett Cathy started the company, he began applying biblically based principles to managing his business, Steve Robinson, executive vice president of marketing for Chick-fil-A, said in a press release issued by the company Wednesday.
''The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect - regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender,'' he said.
George Angelos, owner of the Chick-fil-A franchises on Grand Central Avenue and in the Grand Cental Mall, said he was thankful to those who came out.
''We are appreciative of everyone's support,'' he said. ''(Wednesday) was the busiest day in the 16 years we have been in the Parkersburg/Vienna area.''