NEW YORK CITY — Despite Mayor Bloomberg's welcome to Chick-fil-A after the company's president made anti-gay-marriage comments, Council Speaker Christine Quinn began an online effort to boot the chain's only location from the city Saturday.
Chick-fil-A, a chain of fried chicken shacks with a biblical bent that's wildly popular in the South, currently doesn't have any New York locations listed in the 32 stores posted under 'Future Openings' on their web site. Nor do they have public plans for new stores in New York State, or Northeast region.
But Saturday Quinn began a campaign to get the one New York City location, at 5 University Place on NYU's campus, booted, saying the city is not a place for intolerance or homophobia
In a letter to John Sexton, NYU's president, Quinn writes, "I do not want establishments in my city that hold such discriminatory views."
"I urge you to sever your relationship with the Chick-fil-A establishment that exists on your campus. This establishment should be replaced with an establishment where the ownership does not denigrate a portion of our population," she adds.
NYU did not immediately return calls for comment.
Quinn also established an online petition Saturday, and asked New Yorkers to sign it, demanding that Dan Cathy, the chain's president, apologize for anti-gay comments made to a Christian newspaper, and change his stance on gay equality issues.
Quinn's comments come after a report revealed that of Chick-fil-A's charitable work, $2 million had gone to anti-gay groups in 2010. Last week, mayors in Chicago and Boston spoke out against the chain's intolerant public attitude, and said they would not welcome the stores.
Outside the only place one can order the fried food, NYU students were split over whether or not getting rid of the chain was setting a good example for freedom of speech. (The shop was closed for the summer, until August 26.)
"I heard that there have been some recent discussions within the NYU community about some of the donations that they have been making to some anti-gay organizations," said Daniel Lee, 21, from Pennsylvania. "If that's true, then I certainly don't agree with it," he said.
"Besides, the place is just a glorified McDonalds, and the food is pretty crap anyway so I won't be going back there when it reopens again next month."
A drama student at Tisch School of the Arts said it shouldn't be forced to leave, though. "I don't support what they support, but I do support that they have the right to support what they want to," New York City said Colin Thomas, 20, of New York City.
Chick-fil-A did not respond to a request for comment by DNAinfo.com New York, but a statement on the company's website attempted to address the growing backlash after Cathy's remarks in favor of "traditional marriage" to a Baptist publication went viral.
"The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our Restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender," reads the statement.
"We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 Restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena."