Our Opinion: Chick-fil-A against LGBT?

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With the recent controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A and it’s donations to several organizations openly opposed to same-sex marriage, many gay rights advocates have exploded in protest. The fast food chain has been under fire since it was made known that an independently operated location supplied free sandwiches to the Pennsylvania Family Institute, an organization that promotes what they refer to as “traditional marital values.”

The response was of discontent among supporters of the LGBT community all across the nation. Indiana University South Bend took steps to end their contract with the chain, removing it from their campus. Other schools such as Duke University are also questioning their affiliations, and several Facebook groups have popped up all across the board vying to continue to sever their ties with the fast food restaurant.

In all fairness, Chick-fil-A President and COO Dan Cathy responded to the accusations by a video posted on the company’s Facebook page. Cathy said the incident was not an “endorsement of any political stance or position” and that any inference otherwise was simply inaccurate. However, many people are still not convinced.

Chick-fil-A founder, Truett Cathy started “WinShape,” the fast food restaurant’s charitable arm. This group has been known to donate over one million dollars to similar organizations who claim to have similar values, according to www.ontopmag.com. WinShape is an active affiliate with the Ruth Institute, which lists an ongoing campaign on their website entitled “Gay Marriage Affects Everyone: A workshop series explaining the importance of man to woman marriages.” Even more interesting, the Ruth Institute is an “educational project” of the National Organization for Marriage. NOM’s website states its clear intentions of keeping marriage strictly between men and women, an agenda which, according to them, requires a constitutional amendment. Their opinions on the matter are located under the discretely titled “the threat to marriage” tab. So, to what extent are Chick-fill-A’s alleged “anti-gay” affiliations? We’ll have to leave it up to the consumer to make that judgment.

Nevertheless, it is no surprise why many people are starting to boycott their favorite chicken sandwiches on a basis of principle. And we don’t blame them. Sure, this is America and we support fundamental freedoms of expression, but while at the same time we recognize that it goes both ways. Sure, a business should be able to donate money to any cause or event they believe in. Even so, that doesn’t change the notion that discrimination on any level is wrong. People are entitled to their beliefs , but when inequality becomes acceptable through religious justification, a line needs to be drawn.

Homophobic influence can be infectious and seep into legislation, as we’ve seen in California’s Proposition 8 debate. So, our question to those organizations so hell-bent on preventing Bob and Steve down the street from getting married is “who cares?” What difference does it make if a man marries a man or a woman marries a woman. It doesn’t affect your life. And with the national divorce rate at roughly 50 percent, maybe “to preserve the sanctity of marriage” isn’t your best rhetoric.

As far as Chick-fil-A’s donations go, it seems like a whole lot of wasted money and effort just to make someone else’s life more difficult. Just because you don’t agree with something, that doesn’t give you the right to be intolerant. After all, this country was founded on a basis of personal liberty and the marketplace of ideas. Treat people how you would want to be treated; it’s common sense.