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Chick-fil-A to close first UK location as LGBT groups protest

Matthew McNulty

Chick-fil-A said it has agreed to close its pilot location in the UK as LGBT groups protested the location in a mall about an hour from London.

The restaurant opened just 10 days ago, but The Oracle mall in Reading said it will not extend Chick-fil-A's six-month lease.

"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 told The New York Times. "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."

"GET THE CHICK OUT Say NO to bigotry and hatred on your High Street," one protestor's rainbow-colored sign read Saturday.

The Chick-fil-A Foundation donated $1.8 million in 2017 to three Christian organizations, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Paul Anderson Youth Home and the Salvation Army.

Chick-fil-A has since defended the donation, saying in March the intent was to "help with economic mobility of young people by focusing on homelessness and poverty, education, and community revitalization, and is done with no political or social agenda."

Its president and CEO, Dan Cathy, has condemned gay marriage in the past.

The U.S. is "inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,"' Cathy said in 2012. "I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude that thinks we have the audacity to redefine what marriage is all about."

Activists at the time called for boycotts of the Chick-fil-A brand, though its annual sales have reportedly more than doubled since that boycott began.

Chick-fil-A launched another international location in Toronto, Canada in September, where Chick-fil-A’s presence attracted more protestors and demonstrations.

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