Image courtesy of Chick-fil-A Long Beach Towne Center.
On Friday The LGBTQ Center of Long Beach notified its Facebook followers that a new Chick-fil-A would be opening near the Traffic Circle. The post expressed disappointment in the unnamed property owner for allowing a corporation with a history of discrimination against the LGBTQ community to open one of its fast food restaurants in such a diverse city.
“Long Beach values and celebrates our diversity,” Gilberg said. “The best thing people can do to send a message is simply to spend their money somewhere else. When people and businesses don’t have a platform or customers, they go away.”
In response to the post, one commenter wrote that each Chick-fil-A is independently owned, stating that the incoming owner’s values may not reflect the corporation’s discriminatory values, asking “Who are we to judge that before we’ve never even met the person?” and that they might be LGBTQ themselves.
“Corporations receive profits directly from franchise owners,” Porter told the Post in response to the comment. “By investing in a business that is inherently opposed to LGBTQ equality, all Chick-fil-A franchisees are complicit in discriminating against the LGBTQ community by funneling profits to the corporate franchise owner.”
In 2012 Chick-fil-A President and CEO Dan Cathy expressed publicly his opposition to same-sex marriage. In 2014, however, Cathy lamented the perception that the company is anti-gay, according to TIME.
Although it’s been five years since Cathy backed out of the debate, Chick-fil-A is still supporting anti-LGBTQ organizations as of their 2015 IRS filings, according to this July ThinkProgress article.
In May, LifeSiteNews reported that Fordham University in New York declined Chick-fil-A’s Aramark proposal to set up shop due to “pushback from clubs and independent students over LGBTQ issues[…].”
The new Chick-fil-A, which has already begun hiring, will be required to comply with existing anti-discrimination laws in California, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, Gilberg explained.
“As a result of the leadership of our state elected officials, LGBTQ people are legally protected in California and have every right to seek legal redress should they experience discrimination in hiring, firing, or access to public accommodations,” Gilberg said.
The Planning Commission approved construction of the “freestanding 4,958-square-foot fast-food restaurant with a drive-thru lane” next to a bank building for 4401 East Pacific Coast Highway during its January 21, 2016 meeting that was attended by Chick-fil-A Development Manager Jennifer Dahn.
This will be the second Chick-fil-A to open in Long Beach, with one currently located at the Long Beach Towne Center.
The LGBTQ Center of Long Beach has not made contact with the property owner, but found out about the Chick-fil-A from a Fourth District resident after speaking with the mayor’s office.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.