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Around the country, students demand removal of Chick-Fil-A from campuses

Eat no’ mo’ anti-homo chicken. That’s the word that students from seven schools across country are saying with the launch of petitions demanding removal or prevention of Chick-fil-A franchises from campuses. announced that 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 are now under pressure to take a stand.

“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 the University of Kansas, in his petition on “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.”

Chick-fil-A’s charitable arm, The WinShape Foundation, has long been a supporter of organizations that aim to ban same-sex marriage. Through WinShape and direct charitable donations, Chick-fil-A is reported to have given more than $2 million to anti-gay groups.

While Chick-fil-A howls now about being persecuted for its “Christian” business model, Think Progress reminds the media that it’s not just about the company’s public view about marriage equality. It’s a company that believes in anti-gay discrimination as policy.

  • Chick-fil-A has a 0 rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, which signifies that the company does not offer one protection, one benefit, or even one diversity training for its LGBT employees.
  • Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy openly admitted that he would probably fire any employee who “has been sinful or done something harmful to their family members.”
  • It has recently come to light (thanks to Jeremy Hooper) that current Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy has used the following language to describe supporters of same-sex marriage:
    • “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 have the audacity to define what marriage is about.”
    • “We see all the twisted up kind of stuff that’s going on. Washington trying to redefine the definition of marriage and all the other kinds of things.”
    • “We are suffering the consequences of a society and culture who has not acknowledged God or not thanked God—he’s left us to a deprived mind. It’s tragic and we live in a culture of that today.”

That is outright condemnation. That is open discrimination.

And, as we learned yesterday, Chick-fil-A is embroiled (or is it fried?) in another unsurprising controversy – gender discrimination. GLAAD:

Former Chick-Fil-A employee Brenda Honeycutt is suing Chick-Fil-A for wrongful termination based on gender discrimination. According to a lawsuit which is circulating today on Twitter, on June 27, 2011, owner and operator of Duluth, GA’s Chick-Fil-A restaurants Jeff Howard terminated Honeycutt, whose employee performance was satisfactory-to-above satisfactory, so that she could be a “stay home mother.”

Honeycutt was terminated by Howard after meetings with restaurant management (during which she was not present), and was replaced by a male employee. The lawsuit cites a pattern of discrimination against female employees, who, after being terminated, were also replaced by male employees in Northern Georgia’s Chick-Fil-A restaurants.

But the fans of the chain are stepping up for Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day (August 1), with Mike Huckabee and now Rick Santorum lending their considerable bible-beating power to the party:

So Mr. Cathy’s statements might have passed without much notice except that Carly McGehee, a New Yorker, decided to stage a same-sex kiss-in on Aug. 3, urging gays and lesbians to show up at the company’s 1,600 restaurants around the country in protest.

That moved Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, to declare Aug. 1 as Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. His call to action, which he posted on Facebook last week, garnered such a response that it tripped the site’s spam filters, and the page was taken down briefly on Tuesday.

Rick Santorum, the former Republican presidential candidate, has now jumped in. On Wednesday, he rallied his 200,000 Twitter followers: “With two of my boys, Enjoying chick-in-strips and an awesome peach shake at Chick-fil-A. See you here next Wednesday!”

Well we know who won’t be at Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day – Bert and Ernie:

The Jim Henson Company, which created toys for the chain, will not offer any more Muppets. On Friday, it said Lisa Henson, the chief executive officer, supported same-sex marriage and would donate money that the company had received from Chick-fil-A to theGay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding