By now, most of us are familiar with the current brou-ha-ha surrounding the Chick-fil-A president’s thoughts on same-sex marriage. For those in the dark, a quick recap:
In mid- July, Dan Cathy told Baptist Press he’s “guilty as charged” when asked about his support of “the traditional family.”
“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led
business, and we are married to our first wives,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”
CFA’s stance on marriage isn’t really news — reports dating back to January 2011 show the fast-food restaurant has funded organizations that support “traditional marriage” since at least 2003. This was the first time, however, that Cathy spelled out his opinions so blatantly and clearly.
Since this hit the news with such force, a debate has been waged over whether consumers should boycott CFA. Those who support “traditional marriage” — and even some who don’t — say the company head is merely practicing its First Amendment rights and has the freedom to say what he likes.
Others, like myself, feel like they can’t in good conscience give money to a company that will then go filter those funds to organizations like the Marriage & Family Foundation and the Family Research Council — groups with wholesome-sounding names that pride themselves on limiting basic human rights. Groups that advocate against LGBT issues, women’s reproductive rights and divorce.
Still others think politics should have nothing to do with running a restaurant and regardless of beliefs, Cathy should have kept his mouth shut.
I completely disagree with this. Cathy had every right to say what he did, even if it was hate-filled and encroached on civil rights. Just as I have the right to no longer give them my business. (And before anyone asks “What business?” I’ll remind you I spent quite a few weeks of the year in the South visiting family.)
I think the practice of boycotting a business whose practices or values you disagree with is an essential, healthy way for Americans to voice their own opinions. Sure, maybe the $20 or so a year I’m withholding from CFA isn’t that big of a deal, but if everyone in the country who believes in same-sex marriage stopped eating at the restaurant, that would amount to more than just a drop in the bucket.
It’s the same reason that one person who thinks their vote doesn’t count for much should still vote.
Sure, CFA’s sales plummeting probably wouldn’t change Cathy’s stance on the issues, but even the threat of such a thing happening has opened up one hell of a dialogue.
Besides, how hard is it really to give up one fast food restaurant among a sea of others? I mean, it’s probably not the healthiest stuff to eat anyway.
Don’t get me wrong, it was incredibly hard to stop purchasing those delicious chicken sandwiches and golden waffle fries a year ago or so when CFA’s anti-gay stance first made headlines, but in the end, it’s infinitely more important for my LGBT friends to exist in a world where they have the same rights as everyone else.
Contact features editor Danielle Haynes at 693-1000, ext. 4116.