Equal marriage advocates in the US have dubbed today, 7 August, National Marriage Equality Day following the unofficial Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day last week.

In response to marriage equality opponents’ successful efforts to boost sales of Chick-fil-A, which donated money to anti-gay groups and opposes marriage rights for gay couples, the day had been named Starbucks Appreciation Day by the magazine Equally Wed.

With encouragement from the coffee giant, however, the day has been broadened to encompass all pro-equality companies.

34,000 have responded to an event invitation on Facebook to patronise pro-marriage equality businesses, mirroring Mike Huckabee’s suggestion that people patronise Chick-fil-A last week.

The co-founder of Equally Wed Kirsten Palladino wrote in the Huffington Post today: “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day turned into something awful and misunderstood as thousands of people drove to their local fried chicken restaurant franchise and declared to local TV stations recording them that they were there to support free speech and being a strong Christian.

“But insiders report that off-camera consumers were excited to be there to take a stand against same-sex marriage.

“But this isn’t about free speech, as Mr. Huckabee continued to press upon his faithful listeners. And it’s not about Christianity or personal beliefs either. It’s a civil rights issue. It’s a human issue.”

Ms Palladino, a former Starbucks employee, praised the company for giving gay, bi and straight employees the same domestic partner benefits for the last 20 years.

Companies Equally Wed lists as approving of marriage equality today include Abercrombie & Fitch, Absolut Vodka, Amazon.com, Apple, Ben & Jerry’s, Best Buy, Delta, Disney, Ford, General Mills, Google, J.C. Penney, JP Morgan, Kenneth Cole, Kimberly-Clark (maker of Kleenex, Huggies, Kotex, Scott, Depends, Wypall), Kimpton Hotels, Levi-Strauss, Macy’s, Marshalls, Microsoft, Nike, Sears, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, Target, Tiffany & Co., and T.J. Maxx.

Ms Palladino said of the day: “Too often, those opposed to equality for all make statements with hate, fear and massive donations to organizations working directly against marriage equality, all masked as support of free speech and freedom of religion.

“This grassroots effort is quite simply full of love and appreciation for a company that stands up for us, for what is right, for what is just.”