The publisher of a line of children’s books has been urged to cut their ties with the US fast food chain Chick-fil-A – due to its position on equal marriage.

AP reports that three organisations, CREDO Action, SumofUs.org and Faithful America, have delivered petitions signed by 80 thousand people to the offices of HarperCollins.

The documents call on the New York-based publishing giant to end a potential Berenstain Bears’ toy partnership with Chick-fil-A.

The group said the beloved bears teach the importance of standing against bigotry – unlike the controversial company – which was recently subjected to a series of kiss-in protests at its outlets.

The company’s president, Dan Cathy, caused a storm of anger when he told the Baptist Press last month that Chick-fil-A was “guilty as charged” over its perceived opposition to equal marriage.

The petitions urge HarperCollins to follow the lead of the Jim Henson Company, which has recently pulled its Muppet-style toys from Chick-fil-A kids’ meals.

In response, a HarperCollins spokesperson issued the following statement to The Daily Politics: “As a publisher, HarperCollins is committed to the freedom of speech. We have a long history of diversity and inclusiveness, and work tirelessly to protect the freedom of expression for all of our authors.

“It is not our practice to cancel a contract with an author, or any other party, for exercising their first amendment rights.”