Students should pass on Chick-fil-A
If Dan Cathy wanted his chicken sandwich serving restaurant to become a household name, he did a great job this year doing so.
He sparked controversy by speaking out against same sex marriage and caught flack for it but was also backed by supporters. The marketing idiom that no publicity is bad publicity seems to hold some truth, Cathy shouldn’t have the satisfaction of having his chicken joint mentioned in one more article. Personally I haven’t given money to Cathy or his poultry products, as delicious as they may be since I learned about the type of causes he gives his money to.
In 2010, WinShape, the non-profit foundation created by Cathy and largely supported by his restaurant donated more than $1 million to the Marriage & Family Foundation and $37,000 to the National Institute of Marriage, both of which promote defining marriage as between one man and one woman. The irony of this situation is a portion of his profits come from the community he decided to publicly speak against. On top of the overt talks of hate coming from the company, rumor has it that they also discriminate against anyone who isn’t heterosexual. The rumor is based on the 12 times the company has been sued for employment discrimination.
While I can understand the message of a music video released by a triad of Drag Queen royalty (Willam Belli, DeTox, and Vicki Vox) earlier this year encouraging members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual community to eat at Cathy’s despite his stance on homosexual relationships, it is the opposite of what we as a community should be doing right now.
There is no reason to put money into a company that is putting that same money into organizations whose missions are to promote heterosexual relationships and perpetuate internalized homophobia. While I appreciate the artistry of gay wit, I will admit that the humorous video which spoofs both The Wilson Phillips classic “Hold on for One More Day” and TLC’s “Waterfalls” is more than likely shade, or sarcasm at the entire situation. There is strength in proclaiming that we as a group of people have the right to eat anywhere we want but we also have the power to hit Cathy where it hurts most: his wallet.
LGBTQ individuals and their allies compose a large community with a tremendous amount of buying power. If every LGBTQIA-identified person, including those who have not disclosed their sexual orientations, were to boycott the chain, I believe that there could be some damage done to Cathy and his donations to anti-gay organizations.
What is most important is the underlying issue at stake. It’s not an issue of freedom of speech which is what many on Cathy’s side will argue. Walking into one of these restaurants to buy a combo meal is not simply saying you support freedom of speech or that you’re hungry. Now that the restaurant’s owner has taken a stance on same sex relationships and the types of organizations he donates to has been made public.
Placing an order at Cathy’s counter or drive-thru is saying you agree that same sex marriage is inviting God’s judgment on our nation. Even if you don’t support same-sex relationships you’re also giving money to a company that is not above firing women so that they can be stay at home moms against their will. That type of thinking may fly in the early 1900s but it’s 2012. As consumers we have power so when we go in to buy lunch let’s make sure we say “hold the hate,” and spend our money elsewhere.
Kelle’ Martin is a social work graduate student and may be reached at [email protected]