By Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — A conservative group called the University of Louisville politically “intolerant” and “Orwellian” on Monday after school officials said they may oust Chick-fil-A from campus because of comments made by the restaurant’s president.
The Family Foundation, a non-profit conservative group, said U of L was “turning its nose up” at Kentucky taxpayers who voted overwhelmingly in 2004 for a constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage.
Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy told a religious publication earlier this month that his company backs the traditional family unit.
Last week, U of L President James Ramsey and provost Shirley Willihnganz issued a statement saying they personally did not plan to eat at Chick-fil-A anytime soon. Willihnganz later said the university was talking with its food vendor to determine if the university could cancel its contract with Chick-fil-A, which has a restaurant in the university’s student center.
The move was prompted by an online petition by U of L students.
U of L is not the only public university to consider removing the eatery from campus because of statements by Cathy. Wichita State and the University of Kansas also are reportedly considering removing Chick-fil-A after student protests.
“If James Ramsey and U of L have no use for a private business that supports traditional marriage, then they have no business asking for funds from taxpayers in a state whose voters approved by a 75 percent margin a 2004 constitutional amendment saying virtually the same thing,” said Martin Cothran, a senior policy analyst for the Family Foundation.
Trying to remove the restaurant because of Cathy’s stance on traditional marriage is “simply Orwellian,” said Cothran, referring to George Orwell’s novel “1984.”
“It’s 2012 almost everywhere else,” Cothran said, “but at U of L it seems to be 1984.”
Mark Hebert, a spokesman for U of L, said the university has not made any decisions yet on whether it will or can terminate Chick-fil-A’s contract. Willihnganz is meeting with student groups this week to determine their views on the issue, Hebert said.