The petitions started in response to student governments’ efforts to put the franchise in their recently renovated student union.
As of 10:45 p.m. Tuesday, 19,564 people from all over the U.S. and abroad have signed Florida Gulf Coast University’s petition.
Their goal is 25,000 signatures.
UNC’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Center is taking a neutral stance.
“They are a private business,” said Terri Phoenix, the center’s director. “People have the ability to support a private business or not.”
Chick-fil-A is being criticized for supporting organizations like Ruth Institute, which promotes the idea of “one man, one woman for life.”
The food donations and funding of retreats to these organizations is the main reason for the petitions, said Michael Jones, an editor of Change.org.
“We are a platform for these students to raise awareness about Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay ties on campus,” Jones said.
But at UNC some students are reluctant to start a petition.
“Food and beliefs are completely separate,” said UNC sophomore Rayna Singh.
Some students said they will boycott Chick-fil-A, but not sign a petition.
“I haven’t eaten it since I found out about that,” freshman Stephen Mooneyhan said. “I don’t think I really would justify taking it away from other people.”
Campus food service administrators said removing Chick-fil-A from campus dining would have economic consequences.
“Since we have three Chick-fil-A’s on campus it would cost from $1 million and a half to $2 million,” said Mike Freeman, director of Auxiliary Services at UNC.
The school’s athletic department also has a contract with Chick-fil-A, which sells food at games, he said.
Chick-fil-A has denied that they are homophobic.
“We have no agenda against anyone,” said Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A president and chief operating officer, in a recent press release.
“While my family and I believe in the Biblical definition of marriage, we love and respect anyone who disagrees,” he said.
The company pledged to support marriage.
“To do anything different would be inconsistent with our purpose and belief in Biblical principles,” Cathy said.
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