Over 11,000 people sign petition to keep UK's first Chick-fil-A restaurant open

Chick-Fil-A is a US fastfood chainWikimedia Commons/Saalebaer

A petition calling for the UK's first Chick-fil-A restaurant to be saved from closure has been signed over 11,000 times. 

Chick-fil-A, which is owned by Christians, opened in the Oracle shopping centre in Reading earlier this month but is already being forced to close after LGBT campaigners protested

Reading Pride has held regular protests outside the restaurant and vowed to continue doing so until it closes down. 

The petition, on CitizenGo, challenges the decision of the Oracle shopping centre in Reading not to renew the restaurant's initial six-month lease after it expires.

"The UK's first Chick-fil-A restaurant is being forced to close after it has been open less than a week thanks to aggressive protests from the LGBT lobby," the petition reads.

"This is not because of any wrongdoing on behalf of Chick-fil-A, but simply because Chick fil-A are a Christian business whose US owners do not support same-sex marriage and who refuse to donate to pro-LGBT causes, instead choosing organisations which promote Christian sexual ethics and values.

"This is an attack on religious freedom. Chick-Fil-A are not in breach of any UK employment laws and do notdiscriminate against any of their customers therefore there is no good reason why this popular restaurant cannot be allowed to remain open."

The petition further questions why Chick-fil-A has been targeted and not one of the joint owners of the Oracle, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

"It is not the role of a commercial landlord to police the corporate values or religious beliefs of their tenants," the petition continues. 

"No company is compelled to engage in any type of philanthropic activity and it is entirely up to individuals and corporations to decide which organisations best reflect their values.

"Have the management at the Reading Oracle taken similar steps when it comes to policing the ethics of all of the retailers who rent units in the mall?

"What do they have to say about the ethics of one of their joint owners, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, who work on behalf of the government in that country, where homosexuality is illegal?" 

A spokesperson for the Oracle said that not renewing the lease was "the right thing to do".

The Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes are just some of the organisations that Chick-Fil-A have donated to but the fast food chain said that the focus of these donations was on youth and education.

Despite the protests in Reading, Chick-fil-A has opened a second restaurant in the UK, at the Macdonalds' Aviemore Resort, a four star hotel in the Cairngorms National Park in Scotland. 

A Macdonald Hotel spokesperson told the Herald that it was proving popular with guests.

"A Chick-fil-A location has opened at our Macdonald Aviemore Resort," the spokesperson said. 

"Chick-fil-A has already proved very popular with our guests and we are happy to be able to provide this quality food expense as an option."

READ MORE: What Chick-Fil-A reveals about British intolerance and irrationality