CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Rodney Harvey, president of the gay rights group West Virginia Rainbow Pride, woke up Wednesday morning to find Chick-fil-A bags tucked under his car's windshield wipers and stuffed in his mailbox.
"This isn't about chicken. This is about civil rights," he said.
Wednesday marked Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, which gave people across the country a chance to show their support for the fast food chain's Christian CEO, Dan Cathy, who recently spoke out about his stance against same-sex marriage.
Long lines of supporters filled the Charleston Town Center mall's food court while Chick-fil-A employees had to direct drive-thru traffic at the Southridge location, which served nearly 1,000 more customers than its daily average, according to officials.
A packed Martinsburg Chick-fil-A was evacuated Wednesday afternoon following a bomb threat that police later discovered was a hoax.
Rev. Kay Lowther of Charleston said he chose to have lunch at Chick-fil-A on Wednesday to support the restaurant's biblical beliefs.
"I'm not here because I'm mad at anyone. I'm here because the bible says it's not right. I'll never approve of gay marriage, but I'll keep loving everyone no matter what," he said. "However, I will do my best to convince them otherwise."
Alan Smith, owner of the Chick-fil-A in the Town Center, has worked for the company for 20 years and met with CEO Dan Cathy just last week.
With gay rights activists scheduling "kiss-ins" at Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country Friday and sponsors parting ways with the company since Cathy's statement, Smith said the controversy was not the CEO's intention.
"You could just see on his face that this isn't what he intended to happen," Smith said. "I've known Dan for many years. He just has an innate desire to serve people and be hospitable."