Pro-LGBT activists stood at the location of the new Chick-fil-A restaurant, 30 E. Chicago, May 6 to distribute coupons for Chick-fil-A's newest sandwich, the "Bigot-fil-A," to passersby. The coupon reads that the the fictional sandwich is "seasoned with homo/transphobia" and "comes topped with workplace inequality." It then lists the restaurant chain's contributions to a variety of anti-LGBT organizations.
As reported previously in Windy City Times, gay and lesbian activists, especially on college campuses, have been calling on the company to withdraw what they consider its support of anti-gay organizations like the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). They have also been critical of its exclusion of gay couples from the marriage retreat it sponsors via its Winshape Foundation.
Windy City Times spoke with Lindsey Dietzler, who is also a member of LGBT Change, before the protest. He said that the action is to be coordinated by the national LGBTQ organization GetEQUAL, with three other identical actions happening in Atlanta, Ohio and Fresno, Calif. The Atlanta action took place outside Chick-fil-A's Leadercast conference, a one-day leadership training conference, and the main pivot of this coordinated protest. Participants handed out fake coupons with the words, "Bigot-Fil-A" that list the anti-gay organizations supported by Chick-fil-A, along with the dollar amounts they receive from the chain.
Chick-fil-A outlets are run as individual franchises, and the current controversy began when the website Good as You revealed that a Pennsylvania branch had sponsored an event titled, "The Art of Marriage: Getting to the Heart of God's Design," on Feb. 11. The event was run by the Pennsylvania Family Institute which has been identified as anti-gay (the Chick-fil-A sponsorship eventually disappeared).
The Chicago franchise in the downtown area is the first in the city. Originally scheduled to open at the end of April, it will now do so in June. Asked about the effectiveness of an action before the actual store opened, Dietzler said that this is being done in order to coordinate with the other actions and that this will not be the only protest. He said that the ultimate goal was to "educate people on why they should not support Chick-fil-A if they are pro-LGBT." He also said that the activists want Chick-fil-A to withdraw its support from anti-gay organizations and issue an apology to the community.
Windy City Times contacted Chick-fil-A, but representatives did not get back in time for this story.