Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy's recent comments against gay marriage continue to generate ire from various factions.
In addition to Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino's promise to block the Atlanta-based chain from expanding in the city, and the Jim Henson Company pulling its kids' meal toys, seven universities have launched petitions on Change.org demanding the removal or prevention of Chick-fil-A franchises on their campuses.
The petitions target officials at the University of Illinois, University of Kansas, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Ball State University, College of Charleston, Wichita State University and Minnesota State University.
"In the last several days, the president of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, reaffirmed the company's anti-gay marriage stance and their allocation of funds to support organizations countering the marriage equality movement," wrote James Castle, a recent graduate of KU and expected law student at the University of Minnesota Law School, in his petition on Change.org. "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."
Last week, Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy told a radio interviewer that "as it relates to society in general, I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than You as to what constitutes a marriage'... I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we would have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is all about."
Chick-fil-A's charitable arm, The WinShape Foundation, has given more than $2 million to organizations, such as Exodus International and the Family Research Council, that are considered anti-gay.
The student-led movement to block Chick-fil-A from college campuses began last fall when students at 11 schools launched petitions on Change.org after a similar round of media coverage. A student at Northeastern University started a Change.org petition that helped in stopping Chick-fil-A from opening a restaurant on its campus. Another student at New York University launched a petition that attracted nearly 15,000 signatures.
Chicago jumps in
The Boston mayor's sentiments have since been shared by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who said on Wednesday, "Chick-fil-A's values are not Chicago values. They're not respectful of our residents, our neighbors and our family members. And if you're gonna be part of the Chicago community, you should reflect Chicago values."
Emanuel and Alderman Joe Moreno are attempting to block Chick-fil-A from opening its first free-standing restaurant in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood.
Despite the snowballing effect, Chick-fil-A has some prominent supporters in its corner. Former presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum have urged a counter-protest.
Huckabee suggested doing so through a "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" Aug. 1.
"Too often, those on the left make corporate statements to show support for same sex marriage, abortion, or profanity, but if Christians affirm traditional values, we're considered homophobic, fundamentalists, hate-mongers, and intolerant," Huckabee wrote on his Facebook page. He added that the Cathy family is a "wonderful Christian family who are committed to operating the company with Biblical principles and whose story is the true American success story."
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