Chick-fil-A: Pro-marriage or anti-gay? (Shreveport Times)

An excellent column by Adrienne Critcher (Communications Director for PACE — People Acting for Change and Equality).

If you read Cal Thomas’s July 29 column, or actually most media accounts, you would think that all Chick-fil-A President and COO Dan Cathy did to incur the wrath of gay activists was express his support of marriage based on “the biblical definition of the family unit.” Thomas claims that Cathy “did not say anything hateful about them [gay people].” The fact is that Cathy has indeed made hateful, inflammatory statements about gay people, and Chick-fil-A has given millions of dollars to groups that bring great harm to gay people and their families.

Despite Chick-fil-A’s claims of treating everyone, including gay people, with “honor, dignity, and respect” their policies belie that claim.

The national Human Rights Campaign rates companies with its Corporate Equality Index based on things like whether it offers its LGBT employees nondiscrimination protections and health insurance for their families, and whether it does diversity training for all its employees. Companies like IBM, Coca-Cola, American Express and Ford all earned a 100 percent rating. Chick-fil-A got a 0 percent.

Now there’s one thing that I, the ACLU, liberal bloggers, gay bloggers and Cal Thomas all agree on: government officials, like the mayors of Boston and Chicago, who threaten to withhold business permits from Chick-fil-A are violating the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech.

That’s wrong.

But it is not a violation of free speech for anyone to refuse to buy Chick-fil-A’s chicken sandwiches. Encouraging a boycott is no violation of free speech. After all, anti-gay groups have organized many boycotts against businesses that are gay-friendly: against Starbucks and Microsoft for supporting marriage equality, against J.C. Penney for using Ellen DeGeneres as a spokeswoman, against Oreo Cookies for an ad with a rainbow-hued creme-filled cookie.

Has Chick-fil-A’s Cathy made hateful statements about gay people? Cathy said same-sex marriage supporters have “a prideful, arrogant attitude” and “are inviting God’s judgment on our nation,” are shaking their fists at God, and that same-sex marriage is “twisted up kind of stuff.” This is highly inflammatory language when LGBT people are more likely to be the victims of violent hate crimes than any other minority group.

You can read the rest of the column online here.

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