Chick-fil-A protest goes from kiss-in to football kickoff

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UPDATED: Protesters earlier this month staged a kiss-in to protest Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay activities. Now the focus turns to a kickoff.

Chick-fil-A traditionally sponsors the start of the college football season. This year, in addition to players, coaches, cheerleaders and fans, the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games will include protesters.

On the field Aug. 31, Tennessee plays North Carolina State. On Sept. 1, Auburn plays Clemson.

Outside the Georgia Dome, Chick-fil-A protesters will rally against the company and CEO Dan Cathy, who triggered a firestorm earlier this summer with his boasts about donating millions to anti-gay groups and opposing marriage equality.

The company donated more than $3 million to organizations like the Family Research Council and Exodus International between 2003 and 2009. And in 2010 alone, Chick-fil-A donated more than $1.9 million to anti-gay causes.

“We’ll be there to protest Chick-fil-A and urge a boycott,” said Atlanta activist Drew Washington. “We’ll also be focusing on the other sponsors of the game, like Coca-Cola, AT&T, Delta. It would be nice to hear from them that they aren’t like Chick-fil-A.”

Washington said he expected activists in Atlanta to join the protest, along with Occupy Wall Street demonstrators on the road from the Republican National Convention in Tampa to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. He also expected to see college students after hearing shout-outs supporting the demonstration from the Campus Pride organization.

With students returning to schools for the 2012 fall term, Campus Pride is distributing leaflets in university communities that say the company supports anti-LGBT groups that advocate criminalizing homosexuality, promote “ex-gay” therapy and, in Uganda, campaign for proposed legislation that would put gays to death.

Florida State student Jill Fitzharris, who spent the past week protesting the GOP in Tampa, planned to drive up to the Georgia Dome for the weekend.

"I am charged up," she said. "But I am low on gas money."