I used to eat Chick-fil-A at New Jersey’s Quakerbridge Mall when I was shopping with my mother as a tween. A year ago, I became a vegetarian, so no more “chikin” for me in any event, but these days I doubt if anyone cares about Chick-fil-A’s menu.
A couple of weeks ago, Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A’s president, said in an interview that he is against gay marriage – or, rather, that he supports the biblical interpretation of marriage. Soon after, the news followed that the corporation had given a very large sum of money to organizations that are anti-gay or that intend to rehabilitate homosexuals (by trying to make them straight).
Since Cathy’s comment, people all over the US have come out either staunchly against or in support of Chick-fil-A and of Cathy. Several mayors from major US cities, including San Francisco, Washington DC, Chicago and Karmaloop’s own Boston, have publicly blasted the fast food chain. All of the gay community’s advocates combined haven’t managed to bump the company’s sales, because for every person who is disgusted by Cathy’s comments, there is another person in support of them.
As a Bostonian and a person who believes in equal rights for everyone, I appreciated our Mayor, Thomas Menino, speaking out in support of gay rights. You can read his letter to Dan Cathy here.
In fact, I appreciated all of the people who came out in support of gay rights. Still, there were a few things that many in public office didn’t consider before speaking out: the First Amendment. Dan Cathy has every legal right to his opinion, whether it’s on the wrong side of things or not, and Chick-fil-A is a private company. No mayor can actually ban a Chick-fil-A and, furthermore, no mayor can tell his or her constituents not to work for the company if that is where they choose to seek employment. As long as Chick-fil-A follows the law, its president is free to have what personal beliefs he may.
One of the main issues that I have had with those who support Cathy’s views is that many of them are public officials who are bringing religion into the discussion. It is all well and good for Dan Cathy to talk about his Christian views, but frankly I don’t appreciate the lack of separation from church and state from public officials. Keep your religious beliefs at home – they are not a valid political or legal point.
Fifty years from now, people will look back and realize that gay marriage is the interracial marriage of the new millennium. In the meantime, a person’s right to be completely ignorant is protected by the Constitution, as it should be.