While Chick-Fil-A may be the center of national controversy right now, a local public relations executive says he doesn't expect it to last over the long-term.
Mike Cohen, who also appears on 10News' Inside Tennessee, said multiple factors have stirred interest in the issue. He said social media has provided an outlet for Americans to voice their concerns like never before.
Cohen also said the divisive nature of this specific political issue has placed a bigger spotlight on Chick-Fil-A's values.
"Gay marriage as an issue is really in focus and getting a lot of attention too, again, because it's a presidential election year and the two [political] parties are going to differ on that," Cohen said. "So, that's just fuel on the fire."
Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day caused traffic jams across parts of East Tennessee as customers crowded the fast food chain to show their support. Mike Huckabee called for the day after the company's CEO spoke against gay marriage during an interview on a Baptist radio show.
Despite the publicity Chick-Fil-A has seen, both positive and negative depending on the perspective, Cohen said he thinks it will not last.
"Short-term, it becomes very divisive and people either love Chick-Fil-A or hate Chick-Fil-A," he said. "Long-term, I think that passes and a business makes it, or doesn't make it, on the quality of their product."
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Chick-Fil-A is not the first business to see controversy over its politics.
This spring, some groups criticized the department store J.C. Penney for hiring openly gay talk show host Ellen DeGeneres as its spokeswoman. And, earlier in the year, The Bistro at the Bijou in Downtown Knoxville made national headlines when it refused to serve State Senator Stacey Campfield after he made controversial remarks about the gay community and HIV.
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Latitude 35 in Downtown Knoxville is an example of another business that has recently taken a stance on a political issue. The Market Square restaurant chose to sponsor this year's Pridefest. Latitude 35 employee Kaylee Webster said the business has actually seen its business grow since the event occurred.
"Word has gotten out on the street that we do welcome everybody," she said.
Chick-Fil-A could receive even more publicity in the days to come, as well. Gay rights groups are planning a same-sex kiss day at its locations on Friday.