More than 60 protesters staged a "kiss-in" at a South Philadelphia Chick-fil-A restaurant on Friday night, joining same-sex couples around the country targeting recent comments opposing gay marriage by the president of the fast-food chain.
In New Jersey, activists instead chose to contact operators of Chick-fil-A stores requesting meetings to talk about the controversy surrounding Dan Cathy and his public opposition to same-sex marriage.
At the Chick-fil-A on Columbus Boulevard, same-sex couples and supporters of gay marriage traded smooches in front of TV cameras to the bemusement of some customers.
"I think they're nuts," said Theresa Locascio, 63, of South Philadelphia. "What's this world coming to?"
Another patron was Apostle Robert D. Baker of the True Church of Christ, who complained that it was wrong to be "tonguing and kissing mouth to mouth" in front of the restaurant.
"These people need Jesus," he said. "The end of the world is coming."
Johnna Irby, 33, of Philadelphia, held a sign saying, "You can't pray the gay away."
Irby said she was a Christian, too.
"I think there's just too much hate in the world," she said. "We should be focusing on loving people."
The kiss-in followed a Chick-fil-A "Appreciation Day" Wednesday, when hundreds of thousands of customers helped set what the chain called a one-day sales record.
In New Jersey, Steven Goldstein, chairman of Garden State Equality, said six Chick-fil-A operators out of 20 contacted agreed to meetings. Others said they wanted time to think about it. Two said no.
"Today was the start of a many-months-long process," Goldstein said. "We believe in changing one heart at a time."
Of the two who said no, one said he agreed with Cathy, Goldstein said. "He said no for now. He didn't rule it out," Goldstein said. The other said he just wanted to run his business and not get involved with the issue.
Goldstein said he hoped to have the meetings in about two weeks.
Contact Robert Moran at 215-854-5983, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @RobertMoran215 on Twitter.