Days after Chick-fil-A opened its first restaurant in the United Kingdom, the chain announced Saturday that it will close the site in just six months due to a protest over the company’s opposition to same-sex marriage, The New York Times reported.
The restaurant opened in Reading, England, where a local LGBTQ advocacy group called Reading Pride urged local patrons to boycott the chain, the New York Times reported. Chick-fil-A has come under fire in the U.S. as well due to its owner’s support for anti-gay groups and opposition to gay marriage.
The UK Pride Network, an LGBTQ organization, shared a video of some protesters speaking and protesting outside of the store Saturday. The groups used the hashtag #GetTheChickOut on social media.
The whole UK Pride Organisers Network have a clear message to @ChickfilA and that is “You are not welcome anywhere in the UK and we will stand up, like we did today quite rightly telling you to Cluck Off if we see you again” #GetTheChickOut @Reading_Pride we all stand with you! pic.twitter.com/FOq6e1oGmU
— UK Pride Network (@UKPrideNetwork) October 19, 2019
The Oracle, the shopping mall where the restaurant leases its space, told the BBC it will not permit Chick-fil-A to remain beyond its “initial six-month pilot period.” The mall called it the “right thing to do.”
Chick-fil-A also said in a Saturday statement that it only planned to stay in the initial space for a limited time.
“We have been very pleased with the lines since opening Oct. 10 and are grateful for customer response to our food and our approach to customer service,” the company said Saturday, The New York Times reported. “We mutually agreed to a six-month lease with the Oracle Mall in Reading as part of a longer term strategy for us as we look to expand our international presence.”
Dan T. Cathy, Chick-fil-A’s chairman and chief executive has said previously that Chick-fil-A supports the “biblical definition of the family unit,” the New York Times reported at the time.
The company’s foundation has also donated money to groups in the U.S. advocating against legal same-sex marriage.