Support & Protest Demonstrations held at Albemarle Chick-fil-A - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Support and Protest Demonstrations held at Albemarle Chick-fil-A

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Wednesday was a big day for Chick-fil-A.  Lines wrapped around outside locations from coast to coast, and the scene was similar at the company's Albemarle County location on Route 29. But the customers were not just interested in the chicken sandwiches.

Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press last month that the Atlanta-based company was "guilty as charged" for backing "the biblical definition of a family." That sparked debate across the country with people on both sides of the issue.

In response, former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee declared Wednesday national "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day," and the people at the Chick-fil-A on Woodbrook Drive in Albemarle County took him up on that.

"It's busier than our Cow Appreciation Day and it's busier than the day the whole area lost power," said Gina Hutchison, the restaurant's marketing director.

The hundreds of people that waited in line to go the restaurant throughout the day were there for a purpose.  "It's a day of support for Chick-fil-A, that's what we understand, and we have been busy busy busy all day long," Hutchinson said.

Some of the people at the restaurant were there to back the company president's stance against same-sex marriage.  "We're here because we do not support a marriage between a man and a man and a woman and a woman," said Billy Isenhour, a member of Heaven's Saints Motorcycle Ministry.

Other people, such as Liberty University freshman Abigail Griswold, were just there in support of a chicken sandwich.  "I mean, I'm hungry but yea, I feel like they should be able to say what they want to," she said.

Across the street, there was a protest. "We're all eating McDonalds and I have to admit I'm shocked to see how many people are here at the restaurant today," said Amy Marshall, the president of the newly-formed Charlottesville Pride Community Network. "If an organization, private or public, is deciding institutionally they are going to discriminate about anything about someone that's about who they are, I find that reprehensible."

Marshall was joined by four other protesters who stood in the parking lot between Chick-fil-A and Lowe's to lunch on nuggets, fries, and shakes from Chick-fil-A's competitor. "We're not against Chick-fil-A per se," Marshall said. "They might serve great food, but we are showing up because other people are showing up to show their support for a side I think is very discriminatory."

Marshall went on to say that she believes Chick-fil-A may "have a policy of not hiring people that are gay or LGBT." But the people at the Woodbrook Drive Chick-fil-A said everyone is welcome. "We'll serve them delicious chicken like we serve everybody else," Hutchinson said.

And all this attention for Chick-fil-A is not over yet. On Friday, gay rights groups are planning a "kiss in," where they say they'll come into the restaurant and kiss their same-sex partners in protest.

In addition, a Facebook page has been made urging people to "Donate (the cost of) a Chicken Dinner for Marriage Equality Day."

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