Ventura, Calif. — A high school principal has banned a booster club from selling Chick-fil-A sandwiches for its football fundraiser because of the company’s stand on marriage.
The Ventura High School football booster club was set to sell 200 meals donated by the local Chick-fil-A restaurant at a back-to-school event. These meals were expected to bring in $1,600 to support the football players. Their plans, however, were crushed when Val Wyatt, principal of Ventura high School, banned the donation from the event.
“With their political stance on gay rights and because the students of Ventura High School and their parents would be at the event, I didn’t want them on campus,” Wyatt told the Ventura County Star.
The superintendent of the Ventura Unified School District supported Wyatt’s ban.
“We value inclusivity and diversity on our campus, and all our events and activities are going to adhere to our mission,” Ariaga told CBS News in Los Angeles.
Robert Shaffer, owner of the local Chick-fil-A restaurant, who generously offered the free meals to support the football team, told the Star that Chick-fil-A doesn’t have a stance on gay marriage.
“We treat everyone who walks through our doors, regardless of their religion or sexual orientation, with honor, dignity and respect,” said Shaffer.
“Taxpayer funded public schools have no business going on a witch hunt against benevolent businesses simply because one of its managers was quoted as supporting natural marriage, ” said Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute.
“Overt actions by government to isolate and punish business owners who express their moral beliefs is an outrageous violation of public trust,” continued Dacus.
PJI staff attorney, Matthew McReynolds, sent a letter to the principal yesterday informing her of the legal obligations a school has to not discriminate. Citing the California Unruh Civil Rights Act, McReynolds noted that strict adherence is required not just by businesses, but by schools too. The letter further noted the free speech rights of corporations, as well as the religious freedom rights of their executives.
Dacus was referring to the Baptist Press interview with Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy. He had expressed his personal support of the biblical definition of the family in the interview, which created a nationwide controversy led by the gay community.
Cathy did not disparage any group but rather expressed his beliefs.
“We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives,” Cathy said. “We give God thanks for that.”
Following the initial controversy the company issued a statement stating that “for many months now, Chick-fil-A’s corporate giving has been mischaracterized,” the fast food chain wrote in a separate news release. “Our intent is not to support political or social agendas.”
A document entitled “Who We Are,” also noted that “[t]here are many diverse viewpoints and opinions among those associated with Chick-fil-A.” The statement also said that “[i]f someone in Chick-fil-A offers a personal viewpoint, they do not presume to speak for everyone.”
— CNJ news staff