Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Gay Civil Rights and Chick-fil-A
It seems there's a problem with Chick-fil-A now. Evidently, they've allegedly contributed money to groups that don't support same sex marriage...and groups allegedly considered anti-gay. I don't know anything about Chick-fil-A. I've never been to one, so I can't comment on the product.
But I'm in the minority here. I've had e-mails from friends locally who want to disassociate themselves and all local community events from Chick-fil-A. I've read other e-mails that take this to a national level.
If you read this article here, about the situation, it's amazing how slanted it is on one direction.
Protests like the one aimed at Chick-fil-A are partly or even mostly attempts to exhibit the power of the protesters. That aim has nothing to do with winning the argument—is gay marriage a good social policy or a mistaken one?—and everything to do with controlling the narrative. Only those who agree with the protesters are granted a legitimate voice hereafter. Roar loud enough and you may intimidate the target, but that’s of less importance than pumping up excitement among followers and creating a secondary wave of self-censorship among others who correctly surmise that it is dangerous to disagree.
This makes little sense to me. Is this person saying people are dumb and can't form their own opinions? The objective of protesting is, indeed, to gain power in numbers and to obtain a louder voice. Without protests, and groups protesting in large numbers, there wouldn't be a glimmer of a chance to change things. As far as I know, no one in the LGBT community is telling anyone they have to agree. No one in the LGBT community is telling people how they should think. What I'm seeing and hearing is that those in the LGBT community and those who support same sex marriage simply aren't going to support a corporation that supports organizations who are openly against same sex marriage. This is the risk any high profile business runs when it decides to support something that's highly charged with politics and emotion.
In this article there's more information, based on facts, and lists of anti-gay organizations that Chick-fil-A has supported.
Chick-Fil-A's Employment Practices Are Hostile Towards "Sinful" Candidates. Chick-fil-A requires potential franchise operators to disclose their marital status, number of dependents, and involvement in social, church, and other organizations. Employees may be fired for engaging in "sinful" behavior, and Truett Cathy has said he aims to hire workers who are married.
And then here's the controversy that sparked a lot of what's been happening locally in the past few days.
In January, a local Chick-fil-A restaurant in Pennsylvania donated food to the group Family Life to put on an event called the "The Art of Marriage: Getting to the Heart of God's Design." Both Chick-fil-A and co-sponsor Pennsylvania Family Institute (PFI) were originally listed as sponsors of the "Art Of Marriage" event, although Chick-fil-A scrubbed its name from the event's advertisements after the controversy began. Both PFI and Family life are virulently anti-gay. [New York Times,2/14/11; Joe. My. God., 1/4/11]
I haven't heard anyone in the LGBT community try to stop this group. All I've heard is that anything even remotely associated with Chick-fil-A will now be boycotted by the LGBT community because of who Chick-fil-A chooses to support. That sounds fair enough to me. It's called making a qualified decision based on the information given to you. And the LGBT community shouldn't be expected to support a company that supports organizations that are outright against them.
This piece in the NYT describes the entire ordeal best. Check it out here. Some of the comments are interesting.
On the other hand, Rhonda Cline, a dental hygienist in Atlanta and a devout Christian, has only gotten more outspoken in her support. She was one of nearly a thousand people who logged onto the Chick-fil-A Facebook page to comment on the issue.
“I applaud a company that in this climate today will step out on a limb the way the Constitution allows them to,” Ms. Cline said in an interview. “This is the United States, so we should be able to practice our business the way we like.”
I couldn't agree with Ms. Cline more. I applaud her. We all have these rights. And the LGBT community has the same right to back off from anything Chick-fil-A related. The only right the LGBT community doesn't have is the ability for same sex couples to be joined in a legal union that protects them against all kinds of things that range from inheritance taxes to power of attorney.
If you want to read even more, there are tons of links out there. What I just posted is only the most basic information. All I know is that when any company in business for profit supports anything this controversial, they run the risk of losing business and they deserve what they get. And that's just a plain hard fact of life.