DENVER (CBS4/AP)– Both supporters and protesters gathered outside Chick-fil-A locations in the Denver metro area Wednesday.

Supporters planned to eat at the restaurant in the chicken chain as the company continues to be criticized for an executive’s comments about gay marriage.

The designated location for supporters was a Chick-fil-A in Thornton. The line was out the door and the drive-through line wrapped clear around the building.

“I respect a company that’ll stand up for what it believes and I support their family values,” supporter Teri Martinez said.

“I think that Chick-fil-A or anybody has the right to their own opinion. That’s given to us by the Constitution,” supporter Lou Anne Lyons said.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, declared Wednesday national “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.”

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 unleashed a torrent of criticism from gay rights groups and others, who have called for boycotts and efforts to block the chain from opening new stores.

“I don’t think it’s against gay marriage at all. I think it’s just a matter of freedom of speech and freedom of religion and what you believe in, and there’s nothing wrong with having different points of view,” supporter Jennifer St. Onge said.

Protesters gathered outside the 16th Street Mall location Wednesday. They’re not concerned with what the CEO said, but rather with what the company was doing with their money.

“They donate millions to anti-gay, anti-rainbow lobbyists that lobby for anti-equality laws and therefore prevent us from reaching our economic fulfillment as well as in our loving relationships and protections for our family and all those things,” said protester Chris Gant.

“It’s okay to be a Christian company, but once you start spreading your political agenda into politics as a company that’s not okay,” protester Lance Bowles said.

Opponents of the company’s stance are planning “Kiss Mor Chiks” for Friday, when they are encouraging people of the same sex to show up at Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country and kiss each other.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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