EAST MANATEE -- In response to Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, the Church of the Trinity Metropolitan Community Church in East Manatee is planning Chick-fil-Gay to support marriage equality.
Chick-fil-A restaurants in Manatee County and elsewhere in the United States were swamped Aug. 1 by customers who turned out to support the company after its president, Dan Cathy, openly said he supported "the biblical definition of the family unit."
Chick-fil-Gay is set for 5:45 p.m. Aug. 29 at Church of the Trinity MCC, 7225 Lockwood Ridge Road.
It will include a documentary on equality, a chicken sandwich dinner and discussion with gay couples.
The church promotes diversity and community within its congregation.
"We have a lot of Chick-fil-A restaurants in our area and it's an important issue for our gay and lesbian community, but also for our congregation," said Rev. Charles Tigard, the senior pastor of Church of the Trinity. "It's for those who value justice and the federal
government treating everyone with equality."
Cathy, in an interview with the Baptist Press, said Chick-fil-A is "a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."
Tigard preaches a different view.
"We're a Christian congregation so we take teaching of the Bible seriously and the teaching of Jesus seriously," he said. "If you think of the teaching of Jesus, he reached out to those on the margins of society. We take from the teachings of Jesus."
Tigard, who has been ministering within MCC for 13 years, recently married a gay couple at Church of Trinity.
"I'm hoping for a great response from the gay and lesbian community, but also the straight community," he said. "Those who understand any loving couple should have that right."
The Chick-fil-A appreciation was an inappropriate thing altogether, said the Rev. Dee Graham, who pastors Transitions Church and Support Group, which works with people going through life changes. "We should vote with our ballots, not our bellies. Church of the Trinity is taking a stance that gay, lesbian and transgender is about family, not about food. It's an inspired move on their part. It's important we as a community support our families."
Tigard doesn't expect backlash from Chick-Fil-A.
"We're not coming from a negative place, but from a positive place," he said.
Tickets for the dinner cost $8, but attendance to the film and discussion are free.
Nick Williams, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411 ext. 7049. Twitter:@_1NickWilliams