The McDonald’s restaurant in Glastonbury, Connecticut, reportedly unveiled the new sign about three weeks ago. The latest message to greet customers underneath the business’ Golden Arches logo reads, “We welcome everyone.”
LGBTQ rights advocates have denounced Chick-fil-A since 2012, when the fried chicken fast food chain’s president, Dan Cathy, spoke out against same-sex marriage and confirmed his “support of the traditional family.”
Chick-fil-A continued to stoke controversy that year when it was reported that the Georgia-based company had been donating millions of dollars to anti-LGBTQ organizations via its Winshape nonprofit organization for some time.
Last month, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey reignited the debate when he tweeted that he’d eaten at a local Chick-fil-A. Many found Dorsey’s apparent endorsement poorly timed, given that June is LGBTQ Pride Month. (He later apologized for the tweet.)
The general manager of the Glastonbury McDonald’s, however, told the Hartford Courant on Saturday that the sign was neither directed at the new Chick-fil-A, which opens this week, nor intended to make a political statement.
“It has nothing to do with Chick-fil-A,” Susan Lefleur said, adding that she and her staff “try to come up with something cute” regularly, given the limited space on the sign.
Still, many locals are choosing to interpret the sign as a gesture of support for the LGBTQ community.
“For McDonald’s to step up and say we welcome everyone ... I feel that is a huge step for them,” Tina Manus of Stratford told NBC Connecticut. “Then, in the background, you have Chick-fil-A, who has historically not welcomed everyone.”
Added Raymond Modzicato of South Windsor, “Diversity’s a good thing. I mean, it’s kind of funny today, but I think it might have something to do with their neighbors.”
Meanwhile, Jordan Snook, the owner of the new Chick-fil-A franchise, said in a statement that he and his employees were looking forward “to being great neighbors who welcome everyone.”
“Glastonbury will be representative of all Chick-fil-A restaurants in serving great food and providing remarkable service for all customers,” Snook said, “as well as a diverse workplace of individuals who represent many viewpoints, opinions, backgrounds and beliefs.”