Why Controversial Chick-Fil-A Is Closing Its First UK Branch

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The first UK branch of US fast food chain Chick-fil-A has announced its closure little over a week after it opened, following protests from the local LGBTQ community.
Chick-fil-A, best known for its chicken sandwiches, is the third largest fast food chain in the US with more than 2,300 branches. It opened its first UK branch at The Oracle shopping centre on 10th October.
Reading Pride immediately organised peaceful protests outside the branch's entrance, saying the chain's "ethos and moral stance goes completely against our values, and those of the UK, as we are a progressive country that has legalised same sex marriage for some years, and continues to strive towards equality".
Protests against Chick-fil-A in the US have been frequent since its CEO, Dan. T. Cathy, said in 2012 that he opposed same-sex marriage. His late father, the chain's founder S. Truett Cathy, is known to have donated money to various organisations that campaigned against same-sex marriage and promoted barbaric anti-gay conversion therapy.
Though the chain has since tried to distance itself from this anti-LGBTQ stance, it was reported in 2017 that Chick-fil-A had donated $1.8m (£1.4m) to several groups with a history of encouraging hostility towards the LGBTQ community.
More than 60 people joined the protest on Saturday outside Chick-fil-A's Reading branch, the BBC reports, including RuPaul's Drag Race UK star Sum Ting Wong.
A day earlier, Reading Oracle had announced that it will not be renewing Chick-fil-A's lease, saying: "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."
A Chick-fil-A spokesperson said in response to the news: "We have been very pleased with what we've seen in the UK in terms of customer response to our food and our approach to customer service. We mutually agreed to a six-month lease with the Oracle in Reading as part of a longer-term strategy for us as we look to build a permanent presence in the UK."

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