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Chick-fil-A counterprotest fizzles amid few kisses
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Although their numbers were nowhere near that seen nationally on Wednesday, supporters of gay marriage rallied outside some Chick-fil-A stores nationally Friday to show their opposition to a stand taken by Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy.

The protest organized by gay rights groups and others asking people of the same sex to show up at Chick-fil-A locations and kiss each other seemed to be a little short on organization.

In Utah, where crowds turned out earlier this week to champion Cathy's public objections to same-sex marriage, there were no demonstrations and few if any displays of affection.

"I don't know of any organized support, and I'm certainly not involved," said Michael Aaron, owner of the LGBT biweekly publication QSaltLake. "At this point, I'm Chick-fil-A'd out, although I won't do business with the chain because it funds anti-gay measures, and I encourage other people to stay away."

There are 15 Chick-fil-A restaurants in Utah, where the dominant religion is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which opposes gay marriage.

At City Creek Center in downtown Salt Lake City, shoppers routinely lined up around noon at the Chick-fil-A in the Food Court on Friday. The mall, which is owned and operated by Taubman Co.,is part of the larger City Creek project that includes condominiums and office space, and is owned and developed by the LDS Church.

"People should be able to say what they want to say — I'm a strong believer in freedom of speech," said 23-year-old diner Rans Sorensen shortly after purchasing a sandwich. "I support traditional marriage, but I also know it's not the choice of everyone else."

At Fashion Place Mall in Murray, there were no demonstrations or lunchtime crowds — unlike Wednesday when sales nearly doubled at the Chick-fil-A location. Franchise owner Russ Kal said restaurants shouldn't be involved in politics, "and everyone is invited to come here and enjoy some great food."

In metro Atlanta, near the chain's headquarters, about 40 people waved rainbow flags, held posters saying "Eat less bigotry" and cheered passing motorists who honked their horns in support of demonstrators outside a Chick-fil-A location in Decatur.

"I think everyone is free to do what they want, including deciding where their money goes," said Bryce Smith. "But I can also express my opinion about that."

Elsewhere, police were investigating graffiti at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Southern California.

The graffiti on the side of a restaurant in Torrance said "Tastes like hate" and had a picture of a cow. No one has been arrested.

The flap began last month when Cathy told a religious publication that the company backed "the biblical definition of a family" and later said: "I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.' "

Dissent • In Utah, little or no evidence of LGBT organizations staging protests.
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