WASHINGTON — Fast-food chain Chick-fil-A said Thursday it enjoyed “unprecedented” sales when customers across the United States turned out by the thousands to support its opposition to same-sex marriage.
“We are very grateful and humbled by the incredible turnout of loyal Chick-fil-A customers” the company’s executive vice president for marketing Steve Robinson said in a statement.
“While we don’t release exact sales numbers, it was an unprecedented day,” he added, recalling that the event had been initiated by supporters of Chick-fil-A and not by the company itself.
Supporters of marriage equality — legal in six states and the US capital Washington, but facing a potential Supreme Court challenge later this year — plan to conduct “kiss-in” protests outside Chick-fil-A locations on Friday.
With more than 1,600 outlets, mainly in the southern United States, the family-owned chain is as famous for its Bible Belt values — it never opens on Sunday — as it is for its chicken breast sandwiches and nuggets.
But it is under fire from gay rights activists and their supporters who, citing tax records, say it has given millions of dollars to Christian groups that vigorously campaign against marriage equality.
“Guilty as charged,” president Dan Cathy told a Baptist publication last month, adding in a subsequent radio interview that the United States is “inviting God’s judgement” by recognizing same-sex vows.
Without mentioning the marriage issue specifically, Robinson said it was company policy “to treat every person with honor dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”