At least 30 colleges and universities across the country have been the home of petitions protesting Chick-fil-A locations on their campuses, citing its stance on same-sex marriage. The University of Minnesota campus is no exception as a petition was started via Change.org calling for the removal of Chick-fil-A products from Coffman Union.
The food service company, whose president Dan Cathy backs the “biblical definition of the family unit,” has been the target for numerous protests, public relations scandals and media attention recently. Though Chick-fil-A has donated to “anti-gay” causes for many years, including millions of dollars given to groups such as Exodus International — an “ex-gay” Christian nonprofit, the company has been caught up in the growingly divisive issue of LGBT marriage rights.
The weight of the petition, however, is questionable. Chick-fil-A has not broken any laws or unlawfully discriminated against anyone, though its political stances may cost, or even attract, customers. By removing Chick-fil-A from the student union the University would be taking some level of political stance to stifle corporations who have not done anything wrong legally and are only guilty of having a discriminatory vocal stance. Lastly, Chick-fil-A’s relationship with the University is based on the Aramark Corporation, which provides other options for students eschewing the restaurant.
On the road to equality LGBT activists and allies must remember to not fight unjustly, especially within a university community that should be a haven for open debate, rather than eliminating those with viewpoints we simply disagree with. The discussion is especially important with a same-sex marriage amendment being voted on this November.