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Petition urges Pittsburgh Marathon to drop Chick-fil-A as sponsor of kids' race

Megan Guza
| Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, 11:51 a.m.
Chik-Fil-A’s mascot, a cow, appears at an Oct. 2, 2018, event celebrating the fast food restaurant’s sponsorship of the Pittsburgh Marathon’s kids’ marathon. Images from the event were posted to the marathon’s Twitter page.
Chik-Fil-A’s mascot, a cow, appears at an Oct. 2, 2018, event celebrating the fast food restaurant’s sponsorship of the Pittsburgh Marathon’s kids’ marathon. Images from the event were posted to the marathon’s Twitter page.

An online petition started by a Pittsburgh-based consultant is urging Pittsburgh Marathon officials to drop Chick-fil-A as a sponsor of the kids' marathon because of the fast food restaurant's "extreme anti-LGBTQ beliefs."

The petition, started by Jodi Hirsh, the co-founder and principal consultant at Sequal Consulting, calls the partnership "unacceptable, damaging and offensive." Hirsh could not immediately be reached for comment.

"Chick-fil-A is an openly homophobic and transphobic business," according to the petition. "It has been for years, and despite their PR campaign to change their image, there's no reason to believe they have moved away from their extreme anti-LGBTQ beliefs and their funding of discriminatory programming."

Company president Dan Cathy in 2012 said during a national conversation about same-sex marriage that "we're 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."

He later said he was "guilty as charged" in pushing for the biblical definition of a family. Additionally, financial records showed the company's foundation donated millions of dollars to anti-LGBTQ foundations.

The petition encourages readers to contact P3R CEO Patrice Matamoros and includes a form letter: "Children should not be asked to run under the banner of a company that believes their sexual orientation and gender identity is something that can be cured or healed. Children should not have to support corporate bodies who want to erase them or their family members."

Race officials held a festival last week in celebration of the "expanded partnership" with Chick-fil-A, which included an appearance by the mascot, a cow, and giveaways for children.

A day later, officials released a statement regarding growing backlash over the partnership.

"As an organization, P3R strives to be inclusive of any and all members of the Pittsburgh community, and we have and will continue to be accepting of any individual or family who wants to participate in our events," the statement read. "We are working with organizations throughout the region to ensure we continue to expand our programming accordingly."

The petition has gained 900 so far.

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, mguza@tribweb.com or via Twitter @meganguzaTrib.

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