Holding up picket signs and handing out fliers, about 30 protesters showed up early Saturday afternoon at the new Hollywood Chick-fil-A to demonstrate against what they call the restaurant’s support of anti-gay policies.
The protesters say Chick-fil-A donates money to groups, including Focus on the Family and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, that oppose gay rights.
“It’s about civil rights,” said Ken Howard, one of the organizers. “It’s not anti-Christian. It’s pro-civil rights and against hate groups.”
Although some passers-by blew horns in support of the protesters, others did not allow the picketers to stand in the way of their chicken meals. A drive-thru line that wrapped around Highland Avenue was proof.
Abbi Hamilton, who ate at the new Chick-fil-A for the first time today, wasn’t sure how she felt about the protest.
“I want to go home and do my own research,” Hamilton said. “You can find something wrong with anything.”
Jenn Schilling, with a Chick-fil-A bag in hand, is a transplant from Atlanta, Chick-fil-A’s home base. She said she applauds the efforts of the protesters.
“I think they’re right, and I’m proud of them for showing up and bringing awareness,” Schilling said.
Reynold Watkins, another organizer, helped distribute fliers that read in part, “say no to homophobia.”
“We hope to get the word out that Chick-fil-A has been funding gay groups especially the lie that there are no gay people just people who make immoral lifestyle choices,” Watkins said.
Chick-fil-A representatives would not publicly comment on today’s protest, instead referring to a prepared statement that reads:
“At Chick-fil-A, we have a genuine commitment to hospitality for all of our guests. We are not anti-anybody and have no agenda, policy or position against anyone as some continue to confuse with misleading reports. We have a 65-year history of providing hospitality for all people and, as a dedicated family business, serving and valuing everyone regardless of their beliefs or opinions. We support a number of organizations that enrich the communities where we serve daily. Some of these organizations are faith-based and marriage focused and others are not. These donations have not been given to support an anti-gay political agenda.”
David Phi, who works in the area, said he doesn't understand why people are protesting in the first place.
“It’s just wrong,” he said. “Because why are you going against a company’s morals?”