By Lucas Grindley
Originally published on Advocate.com July 26 2012 1:10 PM ET
Chick-fil-A restaurants aren't welcome in a growing list of places.
Big cities Chicago and Boston have made clear they don't want Chick-fil-A. And now college students are using online petitions to demand the chain get booted from campuses of University of Illinois, University of Kansas, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Ball State University, College of Charleston, Wichita State University, and Minnesota State University.
“Because Chick-fil-A's stance on gay rights could create a hostile environment for queer youth and allies, having a Chick-fil-A on campus deeply conflicts with The University of Kansas Mission on Values and the Chancellor's and Provost's personal commitments to diversity at KU,” said KU grad James Castle in announcing the Change.org petition.
Even before Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press that his company was "guilty as charged" on its opposition to marriage equality and then in a radio interview said gay people were "arrogant" and shaking their fist at God, students at Boston's Northeastern University and New York University had launched petition drives, paving the way for the tactic. The effort succeeded, though, only at Northeastern.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has offered his support for Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno, who pledges to block Chick-fil-A from coming to his district. The fast-food change has apparently already gotten the zoning it needs but still has to win council approval because of changes in land use. The Chicago Tribune reports that aldermen are traditionally given deference and can veto any business coming to their district. Moreno told the newspaper it was "so sophomoric in thinking" for anyone to claim his opposition is anti-Christian.
"It's not about someone having a different view than you," he said in an interview with the Tribune. "That's not what's it's about. What it's about is someone discriminating against individuals in our society. OK? It's not about believing in a different God or believing in Christ or having a different belief. They always try to do that."
Another Chicago Chick-fil-A is now asking to meet with the mayor to show it's a local business and seems to be trying to distance itself from its corporate parent by claiming to be gay friendly, and to have gay employees.
But in Boston, in a tersely worded letter from Mayor Tom Menino to Chick-fil-A, he makes it very clear the company and its penchant for expansion isn't wanted in his town.
Now protests are popping up at Chick-fil-A's that have already set up shop. In Laguna Hills, Calif., young people from an Orange County LGBT center protested outside a new Chick-fil-A this morning. And in Washington, D.C., where a new Chick-fil-A food truck recently debuted, the Human Rights Campaign was on hand with signs to ensure customers know where their money is going.
The company has a history of donating to antigay groups, having given $2 million in 2010 alone.
See photos from the protests on the following pages.