America Squawks For, Against Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-Appreciation Day a referendum on chicken and gay marriage.

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Nothing gets America fired up like chicken -- and gays getting married.

For proof, witness Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, in which more than 600,000 people answered former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's call to support the restaurant's president's views against gay marriage. The event's Facebook page shows thousands joining the effort every few minutes.

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"The goal is simple: Let's affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick-fil-A on Wednesday, August 1," Huckabee writes on the Facebook page. "[Chick-fil-A] is a great American story that is being smeared by vicious hate speech and intolerant bigotry from the left."

Meanwhile, the show of support prompted opposing events all across the country staged by supporters of gay marriage and animal-rights advocates. Gay rights group GLAAD scheduled National Same-Sex Kiss Day, also known as Kiss Mor Chiks day, for August 3. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals planned to stage protests at Chick-fil-A locations nationwide for both the its gay marriage stance and its treatment of chickens.

The chicken activism comes in response to comments made by Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A and member of its founding family. In a radio interview last month, Cathy said the chain maintains it stance against gay marriage, and later went on to say that "we are inviting God's judgment on our nation" by supporting it.

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The comments sparked political uproar, with the mayors of Boston and Chicago speaking out against new Chick-fil-A locations in their cities. Supportive politicians such as Sarah Palin and former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum tweeted their approval of the chicken chain and Huckabee's 

Business partners of the chain, like Muppet toy-maker Jim Henson Co. and children's book franchise Berenstain Bears distanced themselves from the chain amid the controversy.

Seth Cline is a reporter with U.S. News and World Report. Contact him at scline@usnews.com or follow him on Twitter.