Reading branch of US chain to close after protests over stance on same-sex relationships

A US fast food chain is to close its first branch in the UK after protests and boycott calls by LGBT campaigners.

Chick-fil-A faced demands to cluck off when the fried chicken outlet opened in a shopping mall in Reading this month.

Reading Pride, which organised protests outside the restaurant, said the chains ethos and moral stance goes completely against our values, and that of the UK as we are a progressive country that has legalised same-sex marriage for some years and continues to strive towards equality.

The Christian owners of Chick-fil-A, which has about 2,400 outlets in the US, have made donations to organisations opposed to same-sex relationships and marriage equality. They include Exodus International, which offered gay conversion therapy before it closed down in 2013 and apologised to gay people for years of undue judgment by the organisation and the Christian church as a whole; and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which opposes same-sex marriage.

In 2012, Chick-fil-As chief executive, Dan Cathy, said: We are very much supportive of the family the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families.

Last week, eight days after Chick-fil-A opened in Reading, the Oracle shopping mall announced it would not extend the chains initial six-month lease.

It said: We always look to introduce new concepts for our customers, however, we have decided on this occasion that the right thing to do is to only allow Chick-fil-A to trade with us for the initial six-month pilot period, and not to extend the lease any further.

Reading Pride said its protests at the outlet would continue until its closure.

Chick-fil-A, which opened its first diner in Atlanta, Georgia in 1946, claims to be the largest chicken quick-service restaurant chain in America. Its founder, Truett Cathy, developed a business philosophy based on biblical principles, according to the companys website. Its outlets are closed on Sundays.

The chain has also faced controversy in the US. Last year, Rider University in New Jersey declined to offer Chick-fil-A an outlet on campus despite demands from students because the company was widely perceived to be in opposition to the LGBTQ+ community.

Last month, a lawsuit was filed against San Antonio international airport over its refusal to allow Chick-fil-A to open an outlet. Five citizens demanded that an injunction should be brought against the airport barring it from taking adverse action based wholly or partly on that person or entitys support for religious organisations that oppose homosexual behaviour.

Chick-fil-A has been approached for comment.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/us

 

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