Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy and Marriage Equality
By Kirsten Palladino
Three weeks ago, Chick-fil-A found itself in hot water for providing free food to a marriage workshop—one that doesn’t support same-sex marriage. After it was attacked for doing so, it retreated and made announcements about its pulling its support. But the initial decision had already left a sour taste in many people’s mouths.
Senior VP Dan Cathy created a video to address these concerns.
But accepting us into his restaurants isn’t what the LGBT community is upset about. We don’t simply want to be tolerated as good paying customers for their tasty chicken sandwiches. What’s upsetting is that Chick-fil-A’s charitable arm continues to fund organizations that fight marriage equality.
The latest from GoodasYou.org:
First some background:
The WinShape Retreat Center on Berry College’s mountain campus is just the kind of development to advance Martha Berry’s vision, said Don “Bubba” Cathy, senior vice president of Chick-fil-A, at the retreat center’s grand opening on Wednesday.
Chick-fil-A has spent about $18 million to renovate Berry’s old Normandy buildings — the long-time home of the school’s dairy — during the past year. The company now will run the WinShape Retreat Center, primarily as a marriage seminar and ministry center.
“We felt like God has given us a vision for this,” said Cathy, who led Chick-fil-A’s effort to find a use for the 70-year-old buildings.
WinShape Retreat Center to help mend marriage [Rome News-Tribune]
Those of you who have followed our couple-of-weeks-old Chick_Fil-A coverage will know that this is the same retreat center that hosts an annual Marriage Comission seminar, featuring invited guests like Maggie Gallagher, Jennifer Roback Morse, Focus on the Family president Jim Daly, and many more who fight in the public square against equality for gay people. A seminar where Chick-Fil-A higher ups both speak and receive personal shout outs (see videos of that here). At a retreat that was born out of Chick-Fil-A profits: Profits you contribute to anytime you eat at one of the chain’s many locations.
So why are we bringing up more Chick-Fil-A stuff here and now? Well, we honestly didn’t want to. But to be perfectly honest: We’re pretty tired of the disingenuous way the company and its defenders keep acting like we were wacky and out-of-line for simply letting people know about the company’s ties to anti-gay advocacy. And we’re also getting annoyed with the way they keep making it all about the one Pennsylvania Family Institute sponsorship that started this ball rolling, when we brought out soooooooooo much more than just that in subsequent days (and have also clearly shown why even that particular sponsorship does have demonstrable anti-gay advocacy attached to it via both its local and national parents).
Here are just two recent examples of “pro-family” defenders denying anti-gay attachment and generally sidestepping the actual message we brought forth. One from Tony Perkins:
“A local Pennsylvania Chick-fil-A decided to donate some box-lunches to a seminar called ‘The Art of Marriage: Getting to the Heart of God’s Design,'” reports Family Research Council (FRC) president Tony Perkins. “Since then, the fast-food chain has come under attack from liberals, who say these sandwiches are somehow a political statement against homosexuality.”
But Perkins points out that seminar sponsor Michael Geer sees nothing wrong with the donations and has issued a statement encouraging people to “applaud institutions that want to strengthen marriage.”
Anti-homosexual chicken sandwiches? [ONN]
Another from Chuck Colson:
Just last week, homosexual bloggers squawked that the Pennsylvania Family Institute was sponsoring what they called an “anti-gay,” “anti-equality” conference; and worse yet, that a prominent food chain, Chick-fil-A, was a co-sponsor. Of course, the conference was no such thing. The conference’s title is “The Art of Marriage, Getting to God’s Design.”
I happen to know the founder of Chick-fil-A—Truett Cathy—a wonderful, outstanding Christian businessman. Why should they be bashed for supporting a good thing—promoting healthy marriages?
Free to Speak [Chuck Colson’s Breakpoint Commentary]
Issue-shirking asides that were annoying with what we already knew. But issue-shirking asides that are especially uber-annoying considering new evidence that was just sent this site’s way in the past 24 hours. Evidence that makes it even more abundantly clear that our loves, our lives, our families, and our marriages are not part of this particular company’s vision:
Bottom, undeniable line: Gay consumers are not included in this company’s view of love, family, and marriage. You, as a consumer, may be perfectly fine with that. Heck, you as a consumer might even be happy about that. That’s all up to you. Personally, as a vegetarian in a city where Chick-Fil-A is as available as Dodo-Fil-A, I wasn’t likely to be found in one of the company’s stores anyway. So I don’t really have a personal hen in this fryer — I’m leaving the consumer choice completely to each fast foodie’s personal discretion, and leaving the outreach choices completely up to the company itself.
But this site, as a defender of a societal standard that does include gay people, sees it fit to let you know what’s all crunching underneath that pickled bun. And the more the Chuck Colsons and Tony Perkins of the world paint us as radical squawkers who hate free speech for simply utilizing our own, the more compelled we will feel to defend our name. Our well-being. Our truth.
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