Chick-fil-A Just Opened First UK Restaurant. It's Already Closing

The Chick-fil-A in Reading is shutting down after protests related to LGBTQ+ issues
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2019 12:00 PM CDT
The UK Has Just One Chick-fil-A. Soon It Will Have Zero
File photo of a Chick-fil-A sign.   (Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald via AP, File)

On Oct. 10, the first-ever Chick-fil-A in the UK opened its doors. On Oct. 18, the announcement was made that it would not be staying there. After the US fast food chain opened a branch in the English town of Reading, the LGBTQ+ advocacy group Reading Pride started organizing protests outside the restaurant in the Oracle shopping mall. On Friday, the mall announced that the chain's initial six-month lease would not be extended, the Guardian reports. "We always look to introduce new concepts for our customers, however, we have decided on this occasion that the right thing to do is to only allow Chick-fil-A to trade with us for the initial six-month pilot period, and not to extend the lease any further," it said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A opened itself up to controversy when its Christian owners publicly expressed support for "the biblical definition of the family unit" and opposition to same-sex marriage. The Cathy family has made donations to organizations opposed to marriage equality, including Exodus International, which offered "gay conversion therapy." It has also donated millions to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Paul Anderson Youth Home, and the Salvation Army; per the BBC, Reading Pride says all of those organizations have a history of opposing LGBTQ+ rights. The chain's "ethos and moral stance goes completely against our values, and that of the UK as we are a progressive country that has legalized same-sex marriage for some years and continues to strive towards equality," says the group, which plans to continue protests until the store closes. (More Chick-Fil-A stories.)

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