Equality Illinois, a Chicago-based LGBT rights advocacy group, has launched a petition and dining out event to expose what they describe as Chick-fil-A’s “anti-gay practices” and millions of dollars in contributions to anti-LGBT organizations. The campaign, titled “Flick-the-hate,” started Wednesday.
“Chick fil-A wants to make a profit in places of public accommodation, including many of the state’s public and private universities and shopping malls, while espousing hateful rhetoric,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois. “As we question the company’s anti-LGBT policies, we must ask the universities and mall owners why they want to do business with a company that holds up hate as a family value.”
The LGBT rights organization asks supports to sign a petition against the popular Atlanta-based restaurant chain, which came under increased fire last week when its president told the Baptist Press that he was “guilty as charged” for opposing anything other than marriage between a man and a woman as defined in the Bible.
The announcement came on the heels of Chicago Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno’s announcement that he would block Chick-fil-A’s plans to open a new restaurant in the city’s 1st Ward near the Home Depot in the 2500 block of North Elston Avenue in Logan Square.
Since the petition was launched, Equality Illinois has been bombarded with “hateful callers” who are demanding that they end the Flick-the-hate campaign, according to a post made by Cherkasov shared by the organization’s Facebook page. One person went as far as to call him directly and said he was a “fascist,” according to the post.
In addition, they have planned a “Eat for Love Day” event, where supporters can patronize LGBT-friendly restaurants to show Chick-fil-A that they will not support its business. As of Thursday, five restaurants have joined the event, including The Chicago Diner, Hearty Boys, Wilde, Lady Gregory’s and HB Chicago.
“Send a message to Chick-fil-A that spreading hate under the guise of doing business will not be tolerated in this state,” read a statement released to the media Wednesday.
Equality Illinois is also holding a chicken cookout and fundraiser, “Chicken Fry for Equality,” with Chef Art Smith and husband Jesus Salguiero in addition to promoting a nationwide kiss-in demonstration planned for August 3. For more information, visit the organization’s website and a corresponding Facebook event page.