By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the uproar over the statement by Dan Cathy, President of Chick-fil-A, that the company supports “the biblical definition of the family unit.” Government officials in Chicago, Boston, and D.C. all threatened to do everything in their power to keep the restaurant chain out of the city. In response, Americans showed up in mass this past Wednesday, August 1st, at Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country to show their support for the restaurant and its biblical values.
But the fight isn’t over. In fact, it’s just beginning. Because now activist groups are demanding that several universities that have Chick-fil-As on campus take immediate steps to sever all ties with the company. It is happening at West Virginia University, the University of Louisville, and others. And frighteningly, some of the universities are actually looking into it.
The hypocrisy of it all is nearly as delicious as the chicken sandwiches they are trying to kick off campus. That these self-proclaimed bastions of tolerance and free speech would even contemplate cancelling their contracts with a company based upon its viewpoint on marriage underscores that their definition of tolerance is a one-way street: you accept our views, but we will not accept yours.
Fortunately, the Supreme Court has had a thing or two to say about the unconstitutionality of public universities retaliating against private entities based on a disagreement with their speech. As the Court put it: “[t]he mere disagreement of the [University] with the group’s philosophy affords no reason” to discriminate against it. Healy v. James, 408 U.S. 169, 187 (1972).
Alliance Defending Freedom doesn’t represent Chick-fil-A. But we do represent scores of students, clubs, and faculties who share the same religious beliefs and philosophy as the company. So we are sending letters to these universities, encouraging them to take a stand for the principles of free speech and the “marketplace of ideas” that should characterize all public institutions of higher learning.
And you can help. If your university has a Chick-fil-A, start your own petition letting your university’s administration know that you support Chick-fil-A and—more importantly—that you support the idea that no one should be discriminated against because of the content of their speech.
Oh yeah, and don’t forget to “Eat Mor Chikin!”