Christians are hitting back after Mayor Bill de Blasio and members of the New York City Council called for a city-wide boycott of Chick-fil-A due to its public embrace of Christian values.
According to Fox News, after Chick-fil-A announced it was set to open a location at the Queens Center Mall, openly gay Councilman Danny Dromm, who represents the jurisdiction where the restaurant will be situated, called for an all-out boycott of the fast-food joint.
"I am deeply disturbed that Chick-fil-A continues to give 25 percent of their charitable contributions to anti-LGBT organizations, including over $1 million to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes," stated Dromm. "I hope that the Queens Center mall will reconsider giving a company so deeply involved in anti-gay discrimination a lease on their property. Believers in equality should boycott these purveyors of hate."
Mayor de Blasio also jumped on the bandwagon, urging citizens to refrain from eating at the Southern restaurant.
"I'm certainly not going to patronize them and I wouldn't urge any other New Yorker to patronize them," the mayor told DNAInfo.com.
In response, Chick-fil-A issued a statement: "The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect - regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We are a restaurant company comprised of 80,000 individuals who represent different backgrounds and beliefs, and we are all focused on offering great food, service and hospitality."
Thousands of supporters also took to social media to slam the boycott, accusing de Blasio and Dromm of "bullying" the Christian business.
"Chick-fil-A does NOT spread a message of hate, but of love. They have a standard they base their business on. What is your standard Mayor De Blasio?" wrote one supporter.
"I seldom feel more respected that I do when I visit a Chick-fil-A. Their employees are among the most friendly, courteous and respectful people. Treating people with kindness is at Chick-Fil-A's core. Just because their CEO happens to support traditional marriage doesn't make him a hate-monger. He's entitled to his beliefs. If anyone is spreading a message of hate and intolerance, it's de Blasio," wrote another.
"When the politicians tried to boycott Chick-fil-A, people waited an hour in line to get Chick-fil-A sandwiches," added a supporter.
"Chick-Fil-A for lunch today, everyone?" quipped another.
Conservative organization Liberty News Now also launched a petition urging de Blasio to "stop targeting Christian businesses." The group said it plans to deliver the petition to the Mayor's office at the end of May along with a Chick fil-A nugget tray.
In 2012, Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy made headlines after he affirmed the company's stance in support of traditional marriage.
"We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles," he said, according to Forbes.
He later added, "We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."
At the time, the company was sharply criticized by the LGBT community, who called for a boycott of the fast-food chain. Civic leaders in Chicago and Boston also criticized the company, saying they would not welcome Chick-fil-A to their cities.
However, in response to the controversy, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee initiated a Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day movement during which the company said it had "record-setting" sales. A consulting firm estimated that the average Chick-fil-A restaurant had 29.9 percent more sales and 367 more customers than on a typical day.