A UK shopping centre has “caved in” to LGBT demands to drop a Christian fast-food chain.
The Oracle centre in Reading says it will not renew Chick-fil-A’s six-month lease, claiming it is the “right thing to do”.
Ciarán Kelly of The Christian Institute called the move intolerant and illiberal.
Chick-fil-A – the third biggest restaurant chain in the USA – lists its corporate purpose as: “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us”.
In 2012 the company’s CEO, Dan Cathy, stated that the company supported the “biblical definition of the family unit”. It has since donated money to Christian charities that support traditional marriage.
It is open Monday to Saturday because its founder “saw the importance of closing on Sundays so that he and his employees could set aside one day to rest and worship if they choose”.
Following the news that it had launched in the UK, some LGBT campaigners planned a protest outside and called for the restaurant to be removed from the city.
To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us
In a statement the shopping centre said: “At the Oracle, we offer an inclusive space where everyone is welcome.”
It continued, “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”.
Chick-fil-A has so far not responded.
Ciarán Kelly, a Deputy Director of The Christian Institute, said: “It’s disappointing that the Oracle centre seems to have caved in to LGBT demands.
“Campaigners parrot lines about equality and tolerance whilst themselves being prejudiced against any view which contradicts their own.
“The CEO’s comments in 2012 reflect the widely-held opinion that marriage is between one man and one woman. It is a view worthy of respect – even if you disagree with it.
“I hope other shopping centres will be prepared to show a little more courage and a lot more tolerance.”