Manhattan Chick-Fil-A Opening Draws Fans and Gay/Anti-Gay Protests

Protesters, counter protesters and the hungry fans braved the the a rainy chilly Herald Square in Manhattan, Saturday to attend the opening of Gotham's first Chick-Fil-A, the controversial fast food chain known for both its CEO's anti-gay views and delicious food.

According to The New York Daily News, a 20-minute-long line stretched down West 37th Street in Manhattan Saturday for the opening of the city's first Chick-Fil-A. But not everyone in front of the conservative-owned fast food chain were there for the food. A number of the crowd who attended the opening were there in protest.

"I was very shocked by the amount of people lining up to support this company," said Lila Trenkova, a founder of Collectively Free, an animal and gay rights activist group to The Daily News. "I think that it's ignorance rather than people actually not caring."

The controversy surrounding Chick-Fil-A started in 2012, when its CEO, Dan Cathay publicly opposed same-sex marriage. This led to a well-publicized gay "kiss-in" at numerous Chick-Fil-A stores and an even better publicized "Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day," organized by anti-gay GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee. The company has since backed away from its public anti-gay statements and even offers full benefits for employees' same-sex partners.

"We're here to protest violence towards animals and GGBTQ individuals," Raffaella Ciavatta of Bay Ridge Brooklyn told Gothamist. "Chick-fil-A perpetuates the idea that some lives matter more than others, and that is the root of all that is wrong with the world."

Gothamist points out that the protest ended up being a double-header when a counter-protest of "Bible-Believers" showed up with chants of "Repent!" and "Sodomy is a sin! God hates gay!"

"I'm gay and I'm obsessed with Chick-fil-A" Prospect Heights resident Courtney Kim told Gothamis from the middle of the line. "My motto is that they'll never hate gay people as much as I love fried chicken."


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