Fans of Chick-fil-A, led by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, flocked to restaurants across the country on Wednesday in support of the recently-controversial fast food chain.
The backlash against the company started last month, when Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press his company is "guilty as charged" for supporting "the biblical definition of a family."
"I think we are inviting God's judgement as a nation when we say, 'We know better than you what constitutes a marriage," Cathy said when describing the "audacity" of gay marriage supporters.
Cathy's remarks were met with fierce criticism from gay rights groups and supporters of same sex marriage.
Opponents have called for a boycott of Chick-fil-A restaurants. In Minnesota, there is a petition calling for the locations at the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State-Mankato student unions to be closed.
In response, Huckabee declared Wednesday National Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. Supporters turned out to put their money where their mouths are -- and they weren't shy about serving up their opinions.
"I'm here for the chicken, but I'm also here for my freedom of speech," said Daniel Finstuen.
At the U of M's Coffman Memorial Union, a long line wrapped around the Minnesota Marketplace cafeteria, where Chick-fil-A has a counter.
"It took us two hours to get here," said Kim Delarosa.
Yet, while some say the criticism of Chick-fil-A is an attack on Cathy's freedom of speech and religion, others -- like Rev. Bruce Robbins, from Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church -- say Cathy crossed the line from expressing his personal religious views into judging a group of people based on their sexual orientation alone.
"It's a public reaction to demeaning and, what I believe to be, prejudicial and discriminatory statements -- and using God as the moral authority in those statements," Robbins explained.
The controversy isn't expected to die down any time soon. On Friday, Chick-fil-A opponents will respond with "Kiss Mor Chiks" Day. Organizers are encouraging people of the same sex to kiss each other inside Chick-fil-A restaurants nationwide.