Chicken sandwich may now suggest stance on marriage

Daniel Uria/Contributing Writer

Alfonso Yec/The Beacon

The “creators” of the chicken sandwich created themselves quite the controversy earlier this month.Chik-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy has said he and his company strongly support the “traditional family unit.”“We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit,” Cathy said to the Baptist Press in July 2012. “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”Some hungry Golden Panthers disagree but they will go on having “a blessed day” and eat at the fast-food company without remorse. That’s not the same for members of a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transexual group at the University.

The LGBT Advocacy Coalition have started a petition to have the PG5 Chick-fil-A location removed from campus.

“Though I should say that these aren’t feelings that are new and the Advocacy Coalition would like to see the organization peacefully removed,” said Geoffrey Vancol, president of the Advocacy Coalition said in an interview with Student Media.

The very sight of Chik-fil-A on campus angers Vancol.

“It’s frustrating knowing what Chick-fil-A has done and said,” Vancol said. “It irritates me to see it on my college campus.

Vancol also went on to express that while these comments may have put this behavior in a more public light, this kind of attitude from the chicken sandwich franchise is nothing new.

“When hearing about the news regarding Chick-fil-A, I was a little taken back, but it wasn’t something that surprised me,” said Vancol. “The Advocacy Coalition has always made a note of Chick-fil-A’s ongoing opposition to the LGBT community and the movement. To be clear, Chick-fil-A has had confrontation with the community in prior years.”

Along with the efforts of the LGBT Advocacy Coalition, members of Stonewall, the University’s LGBT pride alliance, have chosen to dine elsewhere on campus.

Giovanni Correale, Stonewall student advisor and former president of Stonewall, also expressed his desire for the University to have the on-campus Chick-fil-A removed, but claimed he did not seek for the company to back down from their stance.

“Personally, I feel that if we pressure Chick-fil-A into coming out in support of marriage equality, then we are no better than they are by having an opinion other than that of those of us who do support marriage equality,” said Correale.

According to University Spokeswoman Maydel Santana-Bravo, if members of the University community disagree with Cathy’s comments they have the option of not spending their money at Chick-fil-A.

“At FIU we respect everyone’s freedom to express their opinions. FIU students, faculty and staff, likewise, have the freedom express their opinion by not patronizing a business whose management has expressed a position they disagree with. FIU expects that all vendors will meet all employment practices that are required by state and federal laws and we have never received any information to suggest Chik-Fil-A is not meeting these requirements, including anti discrimination practices,” Santana-Bravo wrote in an emailed response to Student Media.

In regards to the LGBT Advocacy Coalition’s petition, Santana-Bravo said the University “would not speculate on might happen in the future.” She also said she doesn’t believe a vendor was ever removed from campus because of disagreement from members of the University community.

Other opinions around campus on the CEO’s comments are as waffley as his company’s fries.

“I don’t, myself, agree with it, but [Chick-fil-a] can do what they want,” said freshman Jennifer Harrigan, a history major.

But Harrigan and Giovani Ross’ stomachs are what are on their minds when they eat.

“I’m not thinking about gay rights or Christian rights when I think about Chick-fil-A,” Harrigan said.

“People are entitled to their own happiness, and right now my happiness is Chick-fil-A,” said Ross, junior and pre-med student.

Freshman Chris Dirube said while the CEO is entitled to his opinion, it may have an effect on his business.

“There are consequences to every action,” said Dirube as he expressed his skepticism about Cathy publicizing his values. “If Chick-fil-A wants to put that out there, that’s their choice. But it actually can affect their business.”

Ifeyani Meniru, a sophomore and international business major who works for Chik-fil-A on campus, identified himself as a Christian and supports his CEO’s statements, up to a point.

“I believe in traditional marriage – that a man, and a woman should be together,” Meniru said. “However, I don’t ridicule it. I don’t criticize it. They’re human beings just like us.”

Despite their personal views on the issue and their thoughts on the effect of Cathy’s comments on business, the group of students interviewed said they welcomed the presence of Chick-fil-A on campus and would not like to see it replaced.

Although Correale felt that this incident represents “a big step back,” he did express some optimism.

“All in all, many other food chains have come out in support of LGBT rights or at least against the views of Chick-fil-A, and that is progress.”

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