BY NATASHA BARSOTTI – Jim Henson and his Muppets, actors Ed Helms (The Office), Peter Paige (Queer as Folk), author Christopher Rice, the mayor of Boston, a Chicago alderman, and now a Los Angeles youth group are turning up the heat on fast-food chain Chick-fil-A, which has taken a stand against gay marriage as well as confirmed that it has donated to anti-gay organizations.
"Guilty as charged," the company's president, Dan Cathy, reportedly said of his company's stance that marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Of the company's reported search for a new location in Boston, Mayor Thomas Menino told Chick-fil-A to forget it.
"There is no place for discrimination on Boston's Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it," Menino wrote in a scathing letter to Cathy July 20. "You called supporters of gay marriage 'prideful.' Here in Boston, to borrow your own words, we are 'guilty as charged.'
"We are indeed full of pride for our support of same sex marriage and our work to expand freedom to all people. We are proud that our state and and our city have led the way for the country on equal marriage rights.
Following on the heels of Menino's dressing down of Chick-fil-A, Chicago alderman Joe Moreno says he intends to block the chain's bid to build a second branch in the Windy City. "If you are discriminating against a segment of the city, I don't want you in the First Ward," Moreno said July 25.
And today, outside a newly opened branch of Chick-fil-A in Laguna Hills, Orange County, about 70 protesters from the group Youth Empowered to Act distributed flyers and asked customers at the restaurant to satisfy their fast-food appetite elsewhere. They carried rainbow flags, placards riffing on the company's slogan, "Eat Mor Chikin," and wore shirts with the words "Gay OK" on them.
In the midst of the firestorm, Chick-fil-A has tried to back out of the situation, saying last week that it would leave the debate over same-sex marriage to the political hustings.
That's not stopping activists from organizing actions, like the National Same Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A branches across the US. That event is carded for Aug 3.
Another action, Flick-the-Hate: Eat for Love, spearheaded by Equality Illinois, is encouraging people to eat or spend money at queer-friendly establishments.
There was also a protest at a Chick-fil-A food truck in Washington, DC, today.