Mar 18, 2013
09:54 AMConnecticut Today
Chick-Fil-A Filing to Open First Store in Connecticut Sets off Debate over Gay Rights
Last week, the Brookfield Patch reported that national restaurant chain Chick-Fil-A has filed to have its first Connecticut location on Federal Road in Brookfield. According to the Patch, the application includes plans for a 7,225-square-foot restaurant with a drive-thru window.
The possible arrival of the nation's No. 1 chicken chain was met with varied reactions. Those who love the restaurant's chicken-heavy menu of sandwiches, wraps and salads are very enthusiastic about the news—when we sent out a Facebook message about this story over the weekend, we got comments such as "Yessss!" and "Hell yea man, gonna get me some Chick-Fil-A!" The link was also shared more than 80 times. Obviously, you don't get to be No. 1 without a few fans.
The other end of the comment spectrum was filled with those who oppose the anti-gay comments made last summer by the company's CEO (and son of Chick-Fil-A Founder), Dan Cathy, who defended Chick-Fil-A's unabashed support of "the biblical definition of the family unit" in an interview with the Baptist Press. (In addition to operating in conjunction with conservative Christian beliefs, the chain is known for closing all its locations on Sundays.) More than one of our Facebook commenters suggested that they would not be patronizing the restaurant solely based on Cathy's controversial public stance, not surprising given that more than half of Connecticut residents support same-sex marriage. As one commenter simply put it: "Anti-gay doesn't work in CT!"
For the record, a few comments were also not thrilled about the prospect of adding another fast-food type of establishment to what appears to be an overly unhealthy dining landscape.
Since Cathy's comments last summer, it doesn't appear that the company has changed its stance all that much, if at all. It was reported erroneously by a number of media outlets that Chick-Fil-A had changed its position after being challenged while trying to open a location in Chicago by circulating an internal memo that stated the company "will treat every person equally, regardless of sexual orientation." It turns out that this was little more than a carefully worded statement to appease those who were protesting; in fact, Cathy released a subsequent statement on former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee's website stating, “There continues to be erroneous implications in the media that Chick-fil-A changed our practices and priorities in order to obtain permission for a new restaurant in Chicago. That is incorrect. Chick-fil-A made no such concessions, and we remain true to who we are and who we have been.”
In other words, Cathy still stands by his words and his company's conservative Christian operation.
Recently, Emory University announced plans to remove Chick-Fil-A from its soon-to-be-redesigned food court. According to the Huffington Post, the university—based in Atlanta, the hometown for Chick-Fil-A's corporate headquarters—cited the removal "to appeal to the student body and explore other types of food," and that the move was not politically motivated. Student groups had been protesting the restaurant's presence on campus, so the subsequent exclusion of Chick-Fil-A from the new plans seems to be more than a coincidence.
Is Atlanta's loss Brookfield's gain?