By Michael Jones -
students from a number of campuses have started to organize against the presence of Chick-fil-A at their school. Current TV's Bryan Safi did an entire segment on Chick-fil-A's ties to anti-gay organizations. And Funny or Die had a video go viral about Chick-fil-A's support for "traditional marriage" only.
And then there are stories like this, out of Pennsylvania, the state which sparked the entire Chick-fil-A controversy after word broke that the restaurant chain was donating thousands of dollars in food to an event hosted by the Keystone State's largest anti-gay organization. It's the story of Amy Goropoulos, a straight, married wife with children, who used to eat at Chick-fil-A several times a month with her family and her coworkers.
But Goropoulos has stopped going to Chick-fil-A, telling PennLive.com that her belief in full equality for LGBT Americans means that she simply can't do business with a company that supports organizations working to ban gay marriage nationwide.
“They have to know they stand to lose business," Goropoulos said. "I'm sad. Hopefully, they’ll change their minds, and I can have my chicken nuggets back."
PennLive.com also notes that Equality Pennsylvania has advised their members to not support Chick-fil-A, until the company stops supporting -- either through direct food donations or through connections via its charitable arm, the WinShape Foundation -- groups like the National Organization for Marriage, Focus on the Family, or the Ruth Institute, three leading nationwide groups working to scale back civil rights for same-sex couples.
But the activism surrounding Chick-fil-A goes far beyond just Pennsylvania. As we mentioned above, numerous campuses have started campaigns, urging their schools to ditch Chick-fil-A from their dining services. These are campaigns run by students at places like Texas Tech University, the University of North Texas, the University of New Orleans, Mississippi State University, Indiana University (Bloomington campus), the University of Arizona, Ole Miss, Florida Gulf Coast University and LSU, to name a few.
That's in addition to students at places like Duke University, or the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), who have written scathing op-eds or letters to the editor about Chick-fil-A's anti-gay connections. Stuart Hinds' letter in the UMKC paper put it pretty bluntly: "[It’s] fine for a private company to have a political stance, but why does the University support such a discriminatory business? Particularly when the school emphasis as of late has been on diversity."
That's the point that many of these students, and those boycotting Chick-fil-A, have been making for the past several weeks. Yes, Chick-fil-A has the right to support organizations like Focus on the Family, the National Organization for Marriage, or the Pennsylvania Family Institute. Yes, Chick-fil-A has the right to tell same-sex couples that they are not welcome at the WinShape Foundation's retreat center. Yes, the folks who run Chick-fil-A have every right to think that traditional marriage is moral, and gay marriage is sinful.
But folks who disagree with Chick-fil-A's stance have every right to want to take their dollars elsewhere, in hopes of sending the message to Chick-fil-A that getting behind anti-gay political campaigns or organizations just doesn't pay.
If you'd like to join in solidarity with the activists and students standing up to Chick-fil-A's anti-gay ties, sign here. Together we'll continue this narrative about the company, until the restaurant chain and its charitable arm get out of the business of supporting groups who take civil rights away from LGBT Americans.