The Chick-fil-A controversy


I have never actually eaten at a Chick-fil-A restaurant but the head of the company Dan Cathy has been in the news recently proudly proclaiming that his company is run on ‘biblical principles’. He and the family-owned company also contribute to groups that oppose same sex marriage.

The mayor of Boston has said that he will fight to prevent the company from getting a permit to open a restaurant in the city unless they change their policies. This is troubling. People have a right to oppose same-sex marriage and to support those movements, however much the rest of us may disagree with their views. Governments can and should pass laws that prevent discrimination against people. But as long as companies are complying with the law, governments should not take actions against them simply because of what the owners believe and advocate. As far as I know, the company does not practice discriminatory policies though I can imagine that members of the LGBT community might not want to work there.

It is different in the private sphere. The Henson company has said that they will no longer have any tie-ins of their muppet characters with Chick-fil-A. They, as a private company, have the right to decide whom they want to be associated with.

It is also perfectly fine for private groups to call for actions on both sides of the issue. Mike Huckabee, one-time presidential candidate and full-time anti-gay bigoted preacher, has called for people to go to the restaurants on August 1 to show their support, while others are calling for boycotts. One group is even calling for a ‘kiss-in’ in the restaurants on August 3, which I don’t think is a good idea since it seems to me to be needlessly provocative.

The forces opposing same-sex marriage are clearly on the losing side of history because the move towards equal rights for formerly marginalized groups is unstoppable because of the fundamental rightness of the logic behind it. For example, Scotland announced just today that they would introduce legislation this year to allow same-sex marriage, and England and Wales are likely to follow soon.

The Daily Show gives its take on this and the recent decision by the Boy Scouts to uphold its policy of opposing the admission of gays into its ranks, both groups fighting against the tide and bound to lose.

(This clip appeared on July 23, 2012. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post.)

Comments

  1. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    One group is even calling for a ‘kiss-in’ in the restaurants on August 3, which I don’t think is a good idea since it seems to me to be needlessly provocative.

    “Needlessly” provocative? Who the hell are you to make that judgment Mano? You can discourse on what is and isn’t needful when your right to marry, inherit, share custody of children and not get fired for your job is threatened simply because of who you are. Until then please keep your counsel on Mount Privilege.

  2. CPS says

    Yeah…I was kind of struck by that too. The rest of what was said makes pretty good sense to me, but reading that line felt kind of icky.

  3. Chiroptera says

    One group is even calling for a ‘kiss-in’ in the restaurants on August 3, which I don’t think is a good idea since it seems to me to be needlessly provocative.

    Needlessly provocative? That seems to be a strange thing to say the day after writing a post lamenting the loss of Alexander Cockburn.

  4. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Don’t ya know being a heterosexual man gives you a reasonable, considered lens through which to judge this, Chiroptera?

  5. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    And what’s with the exaggeratedly dramatic language?

    “One group is even calling for a kiss-in. . .”

    Dude, get some perspective. You write as if it were equivalent to calling for protestors to immolate themselves in the booths! Oooo. . some scary queers are going to kiss in public. That might make some straight people uncomfortable (maybe you?).

    Seriously—this is really surprising coming from you Mano, and not a little disturbing.

  6. says

    which I don’t think is a good idea since it seems to me to be needlessly provocative I am a handwringing tone troll who’s oblivious to my own privilege in this matter.

    Fixed.

    Free clue, Mano: The “provocative” actions of GLBT people at the Stonewall Inn, then ACT-UP activists a generation later, are probably why gay rights have made a lot of progress in the United States since then.

  7. says

    Needlessly provocative, eh?

    I guess if a company was giving money to racist organizations and advocating the denial of basic human rights to people of color–but had no history of discriminating against their employees that you knew of!–a sit-in of POC would be needlessly provocative as well.

  8. David Marjanović says

    One group is even calling for a ‘kiss-in’ in the restaurants on August 3, which I don’t think is a good idea since it seems to me to be needlessly provocative.

    ~:-| Provocative?

  9. Sunny says

    Why do you think the “kiss-in” is provocative? Other than that I agree with what you have written.

  10. Happiestsadist says

    Cosigning this. The fact that anyone, especially someone who seems to think he’s not homophobic, is claiming that omg gay people kissing is “needlessly provocative” is exactly why these protests are necessary.

  11. Brownian says

    Provoking Christians is a win all around. It supports their persecution complex, earns them rewards in heaven according to their mythologised leader, and allows the rest of us to remind them that down here is Caesar’s domain.

    There’s nothing needless about being kind to Christians according to their own scriptures, even if it’s a perverse sort of kindness that doesn’t look like kindness to the rest of us. It must be a “God’s love” kind of thing, but who am I to disrespect someone else’s deeply held convictions?

  12. MNb0 says

    Ah, biases, biases everywhere. Josh and Chiroptera, did it occur to you that MS might think it a bad strategy to organize a kiss-in? Which has nothing to do with judgment?
    Looks like the two of you are a bit judgmental yourself. “Anyone who is not as radical as us is automatically a conservative pighead”, something like that.

    Now before you draw any conclusions regarding me, like “(maybe you?)”, I have lived with my gay father and his friend for 7 years. And I have kissed them both in public, even though I am straight.
    But the three of us never went to a restaurant like that. We prefer our chicken cooked on atheist and liberal principles. Tastes better.

  13. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Then Mano ought to be clearer in his writing. And you’re not as enlightened as you think you are if you can’t grasp why an organized effort to make bigoted (and the merely comfortable who won’t call out bigots but will buy their chicken) people squirm is a normal and necessary part of social change.

    Thank you for Hetsplaining, and please drive thru!

  14. B-Lar says

    If the truth of the matter is that the bigots will eventualy lose the fight against the tide then provocation is needless.

    Some people might go out and provoke a response from the bigots, and im sure that it would be a lot of fun to do so, but you can surely respect the opinions of people who think that it is unneccesary.

    You are a fighter so fight hard. Its rare that I see you pick such a soft and small a target though. Is it a slow day?

  15. Happiestsadist says

    Yeah, and regardless of your totally gay family, you still have straight privilege and live in a homophobic culture. Maybe instead of scolding the mean queers, you could think a bit on that?

  16. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Ah, biases, biases everywhere.

    Remember, protesting the blindness of privilege that holds back social change is just a bias, and it’s just as bad as those bigots!

  17. A Bear says

    Oh-Oh! It looks like you may have incurred the wrath of the FreeThoughtpolice ! You had better repent of your privileged homophobia or face the imminent shitstorm.

  18. Rando says

    Man, why do they have to do their massive eat in on my birthday. Why does it have to be August 1? Why can’t they have their massive exodus to Chik-Fil-A on another day?

    In other news, I now have to find a way to boycott a restaurant that I never eat at.

  19. Christopher says

    Well, I’ve been boycotting Chick-fil-A for years because of its conservative owners which isn’t too hard since a lot of my family are vegetarian.

    However, I agree with Mano about the kiss-in. It really wouldn’t change anyone’s mind and seems pointlessly antagonistic. Kiss-ins seem more appropriate on days like IDAHO (International Day Against HOmophobia) to show support rather than attack people. Still, I can understand that some people like those kinds of protests.

  20. Brownian says

    did it occur to you that MS might think it a bad strategy to organize a kiss-in?

    I hate this kind of crap. That’s not what MS wrote. He said it was “needlessly provocative”. If he has particular reasons to think that it’s a “bad strategy”, then he should lay them out.

    Did it ever occur to you that “needlessly provocative” is indeed the phrasing that people have used against the Suffragettes, civil rights leaders in the US, Gnu atheists, and the GLBT movement with respect to something as innocuous as Pride Parades.

    I’m glad you know and care about gay people. I do too. If you really want to show that you care about them, you’d refrain from telling them, from your safe position of heterosexuality, how to go about fighting the discrimination they face on a daily basis.

  21. Chiroptera says

    MNb0, #7: Ah, biases, biases everywhere. Josh and Chiroptera, did it occur to you that MS might think it a bad strategy to organize a kiss-in?

    Yes: my reading comprehension skills are decent.

    Looks like the two of you are a bit judgmental yourself. “Anyone who is not as radical as us is automatically a conservative pighead”, something like that.

    Really? You got that from my comment? If cover Josh’s comments with post-its and reread mine, do you still read it that way?

  22. Brownian says

    If discussion, even heated discussion, offends you so, you’d best stick to sites that don’t allow commenting.

  23. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I have lived with my gay father and his friend for 7 years.

    That tells on you.

  24. Brownian says

    It really wouldn’t change anyone’s mind and seems pointlessly antagonistic.

    Evidence for this claim, please.

    Would you also say that the CEO of Chik-Fil-A expressing his homophobia is also not mind-changing and needlessly antagonistic?

  25. Chiroptera says

    Christopher, #11: It really wouldn’t change anyone’s mind and seems pointlessly antagonistic.

    I believe that people were saying that same thing when black kids were purposely going to sit at whites only lunch counters.

    Martin Luther King, Jr, was initially criticized by other leaders in the civil rights movement for being to “confrontational.”

  26. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    It really wouldn’t change anyone’s mind and seems pointlessly antagonistic.

    Honest question—do you ever bother to do the most cursory reading about the history of social justice movements? Because you’re wrong. Unequivocally, uncontroversially, factually wrong. EVERY social justice movement had components of “antagonism” and provocation. That is necessary to move people out of complacent bigotry. It’s not everything, but it’s important. These mountains don’t get moved exclusively behind closed doors by people in suits negotiating with dinner party diplomacy.

    If you genuinely care about your friends who are minorities you owe it to them to stop making these baseless assertions and stop disrespecting people brave enough to take social disapproval for a just cause.

  27. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Not the Freethought Police. People who aren’t going to let you get away with soft bigotry any more. The world is changing and we’re not shutting up. Deal.

  28. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Don’t condescend to me. No, I do not respect the opinions of people who poo-poo the worth of things like kiss-ins. I think they’re wrong, and I’d be lying to say I respected such views. Why would you expect otherwise?

    And why do you seem to think that bigotry is just naturally going to go away without a variety of actions, including things like kiss-ins?

    Christ on toast. The next thing you know people are going to say ACT-UP was unnecessary because the government would have coughed up AIDS funding anyway in its own good time.

  29. Beatrice says

    Calling the kiss-in needlessly provocative. Hm, where have I heard something like that before? Oh yes, I hear that every year around Pride time.
    “why do they have to flaunt themselves”, “needlessly provocative”, “I don’t need to parade my sexuality”, etc.

    If you suddenly sound like people who say that kind of shit, take a moment and rethink your position.

  30. unbound says

    “The forces opposing same-sex marriage are clearly on the losing side of history because the move towards equal rights for formerly marginalized groups is unstoppable because of the fundamental rightness of the logic behind it.”

    I actually disagree with this. The rightness of the logic has never been the big factor for changes in public attitude. If the rightness of the logic was that big of a factor, religion itself would be close to non-existent.

    It is the confrontation (not necessarily violent) that moves people in new directions. Would the “kiss-in” be uncomfortable for the masses to witness? Absolutely! And that is always the primary motivator to change things from the way they are to become the way things should have always been.

    I’m in agreement with the majority of comments. The provocativeness is actually a good thing.

  31. smrnda says

    I can’t find it online, but I recall a case at a Chick-fil-A where a Muslim manager was basically fired for refusing to pray to Jesus. I’d say that with a company culture like Chick-fil-A people who know they aren’t going to be welcome aren’t going to work there.

    Perhaps this self-selection (and the fact that Chick-fil-A is a southern brand) prevents more discrimination from being observed or happening. Someone should really get a bunch of people who are GLBT or just not conservative Protestants to apply to the company and see how they do.

    As for a kiss-in, if a kiss-in *could* seem provocative it’s a sign that this company and country is still pretty homophobic. There have been instances where same-sex couples have been told not to kiss or be affectionate in public in a variety of business settings, which is a pretty outrageous assault on their human dignity. I think this is something that should be pushed, constantly.

    If the company lets it pass, you’re made progress, and if they react badly, it would be proof that despite their claims to the contrary, they do actively discriminate against homosexuals.

  32. A Bear says

    I wasn’t offended,just amused at how easily and quickly some people on these blogs take statements out of context then angrily resort to accusing others of bigotry, sexism or some other social crime.
    It wouldn’t bother me to see two men kissing in public but it may be provocative to a fundamentalist. It may or may not be educational for said fundamentalist(s).
    I don’t see how merely doubting the efficacy of such an action is an indication of bigotry or homophobia.

  33. Steve LaBonne says

    Another cosign. This is one of Mano’s rare slips. Josh already said what I would have said.

  34. Brownian says

    I don’t see how merely doubting the efficacy of such an action is an indication of bigotry or homophobia.

    Maybe you should reread the comments that made that claim, the ones you were ostensibly responding to.

    I’ll wait.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Can’t find any?

    Well, if you don’t have any evidence, you can always cry “Freethought Police” in lieu.

    Thanks for coming out.

  35. Mano Singham says

    I was away from my computer for some time so I apologize for not responding more quickly.

    Perhaps I should clarify some things right at the outset. I have no trouble at all with gay people kissing in public, parades, demonstrations, and so forth. Equal rights means equal rights and what heterosexual people can do should be allowed to homosexuals as well. I perhaps should have emphasized that it is the organizing of the kiss-in in the restaurants that seems to me to be ‘needlessly provocative’.

    I saw this as the flip side of the Westboro Baptist people who go and picket the funerals of gay people and soldiers to make their point. They are free to say what they want and believe what they want but going to people’s funerals to demonstrate seems, again, needless provocative. Of course, it is their goal to be provocative but I think events have shown that it is a losing strategy. Similarly, I would not recommend that atheists go inside the churches of even the most anti-atheist preacher and confront them there. It seems to me to be better to do counter-protests in a clearly public sphere.

    The ultimate battle is for the hearts and minds of the general public and most people have, I think, a general idea of what constitutes appropriate spheres in which to make a statement for a cause. Maybe I am wrong on the effectiveness of this tactic, but it struck me that it would likely alienate people more than endear them.

  36. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I saw this as the flip side of the Westboro Baptist people who go and picket the funerals of gay people and soldiers to make their point. They are free to say what they want and believe what they want but going to people’s funerals to demonstrate seems, again, needless provocative. Of course, it is their goal to be provocative but I think events have shown that it is a losing strategy. Similarly, I would not recommend that atheists go inside the churches of even the most anti-atheist preacher and confront them there. It seems to me to be better to do counter-protests in a clearly public sphere.

    You couldn’t have insulted me worse if you slapped me across the face Mano. How dare you? A kiss-in at a restaurant to push for gay equality is the flip side of Fred Phelps’ bastards interrupting a funeral to say gay people are going to burn in hell?

    Did you mean this? Really? Is that what you think of me? Is that what you think of gay people?

    1. Restaurants are places of public accommodation. They are not “their” (read: only straight peoples’) sanctuaries. Analogy fail.

    2. Queer people staging a non-violent protest showcasing love and affection is not morally equivalent to bigots busting up a funeral to shout evil things at families.

    FUCK YOU. FUCK YOU.

  37. A Bear says

    I was referring to the “people that won’t allow you to get away with soft bigotry anymore”.

  38. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Maybe I am wrong on the effectiveness of this tactic, but it struck me that it would likely alienate people more than endear them.

    You’re not only wrong but you’re astonishingly ignorant about the history of social justice. How did you get that way?

  39. Doug Hudson says

    Comparing anyone to the Westboro douchebags is offensive.

    Comparing gays to the Westboro Baptists? You are aware that the Westboro Baptists advocate killing all gays, right? That they want to see every single gay person dead and burning in hell for all eternity?

    THAT is the flipside of a gay kiss-in?

    Might want to rethink that one.

  40. Beatrice says

    Ouch. You’ve gone from wrong to what the hell am I reading, is this for real?!

    Westboro Baptists are a hate group going to funerals to spout their hate and vitriol, to bother grieving families. And you compare peaceful kiss-in protesters to that . You are comparing an oppressed group who are trying to protect their basic civil rights that Chick-fil-A are directly working on denying them. They are protesting the company’s support of their oppression, and you compare them to a group that basically wants to destroy gay people.

  41. left0ver1under says

    A provocative act is one that challenges a law, not one that challenges a form of bigotry. Saying that a kiss-in is “provocative” is like saying blacks marching for equal rights was “provocative” because it made whites uncomfortable.

    Chick-Fil-A can kick people out of their restaurants for violating a “no shirt, no shoes, no service” policy, but trying to ban the legal act of kissing between gays is no more valid than trying to ban the legal act of kissing between a white person and a black person. The only way to legally ban kisses between gays is to ban kisses between any two people.

    As for their “food”, it should not surprise that those who support the company’s bigotry are often the sorts who would eat a lot of greasy fast food. Corpulence and conservatism seem to go hand in hand (or both hands feeding the mouth at the same time). You’re not missing anything by not going there.

  42. Brownian says

    Equal rights means equal rights and what heterosexual people can do should be allowed to homosexuals as well.

    Does Chik-Fil-A ban heterosexual kissing in their restaurants?

    It seems to me to be better to do counter-protests in a clearly public sphere.

    You mean such as in a businessplace?

    Of course, it is their goal to be provocative but I think events have shown that it is a losing strategy.

    Don’t be foolish. All culture-changing activities are provocative. Pride parades are provocative. Any protest is provocative. How can you possibly declare all of these to be losing strategies?

  43. Brownian says

    Let’s not get into fat-shaming, left0ver1under. There are myriad reasons for the increasing obesity in developed countries, and North America in particular.

    If you want to pick at their food, point out that serving meat and dairy together is hardly living according to biblical principles.

    They can toss out the old Testament, if they like, but that means they lose their scriptural support for homophobia.

  44. left0ver1under says

    Whatever it is that makes you so overly emotional, it prevents you from speaking rationally. Calm down or get a friend to edit your posts.

  45. CT says

    Yes, of course, brilliant! A funeral is *just like* a restaurant!/sarcasm

    You’re wrong about ‘needless provocation’. It’s needful.

  46. says

    Fuck off, you fat-shaming douchebag. And perhaps you should go read up about the connection between poverty and shitty food choices in the U.S. while you’re at it.

    Fuck me, I hate liberals who employ one kind of bigotry in order to fight another.

  47. Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain says

    The only way this can be the flipside of the Phelps Klan is this, if LGBT people were agitating for the removal of rights for heterosexual couples.

    Let me put it this way, were the blacks who held sit-ins at Woolworth diners in the south fifty years ago the flipside of the KKK? They were provocative but would you call it “needlessly”?

  48. Mano Singham says

    That is a good point that comes closest to the parallel with Chick-fil-A. Using the same yardstick that I was applying here, that act too would be ‘needlessly provocative’. But it was undoubtedly effective and is now considered a landmark event in the fight for civil rights. So it looks like I could well be wrong in viewing the kiss-in as not an effective tactic for changing attitudes. It may succeed. I hope so.

  49. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Which you could have figured out. Is there a reason why you feel just fine making the most grossly insulting, demeaning statements (I know you don’t think they are, but they are) yet never deign to respond to the people hurt by them? That would be me, among others.

  50. smrnda says

    Protesting at a funeral is a huge intrusion into a private, emotionally charged event that, for the most part, happens one time. I think any sort of ‘protest’ at a funeral (well, perhaps an exception if it’s the funeral of some hated dictator) is out of line.

    I mean, I like to hang out at cemeteries sometimes. I used to take a bike ride through one, but I sure wouldn’t do that if I saw a funeral going on. I think people deserve space at a funeral.

    A restaurant is a public space, it’s a place people go to eat food. It’s not like being in a restaurant is a momentous, special occasion for anybody. A day at a restaurant isn’t a funeral, a wedding, or a religious service. A person kissing in a restaurant ought to be a non-event. I don’t even think a kiss in IS that provocative.

    Chik-fil-A (how on earth do you spell that ridiculous name?) isn’t some special, private space where people are intruding in a special, private moment. The management at the chain has said that they serve everybody and don’t discriminate against homosexuals. Let’s see if that’s true, or if they just mean “we serve and tolerate homosexuals as long as they stay in the closet.” Really, Chik-fil-A has, by that statement, asked for a challenge like a kiss in. In a sense, they have made a statement that, if they are honest about it, is pretty much that they don’t think this is an issue. Let’s see if that’s true. They’d have to go back on their word about ‘non-discrimination’ if they do, so I see a kiss-in as a total win-win.

  51. says

    WTF?
    Westboro Baptist Church?
    Really?
    That’s fucking stupid.
    A kiss in shows others that gay people are there. The only ones offended are the ones who think that gay people should not exist.
    They are offended by the mere existence of gay people.
    Hell, if I lived there I’d participate with every willing woman out there and I’m not even gay.

  52. Mano Singham says

    When I mentioned the group like the Westboro church to make a point, I was not, of course, saying that they are morally equivalent to those fighting for gay rights. I was reaching for the most well-known example of a group that seems to be alienating people with their actions. Everyone knows what they do and their decline, so using them as an example means that one does not have to provide any background information. They are a convenient touchstone to make one’s point.

    It is similar to using Hitler and the Nazis as comparisons for something. Doing so does not mean that one is necessarily equating them or their actions with whatever group or issue happens to be under discussion. One is simply using them because people know what you are talking about.

  53. says

    I think this is appropriate here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/timeline/stonewall/

    It’s a timeline of some of the major events in LGBT rights. Most of those events involved protests, riots and police action of some kind. PBS is considerably lighter in their descriptions of violence than they could be, especially considering the casual violence and corrective rape which sometimes occurred after LGBT persons were arrested, especially if they were deemed gender deviants.

    The Civil Rights movement in the US is equally full of protests, violence and homicide. I teach that in my youth and society course.

    While it might seem the ‘correct’ thing to do, if one believes the correct way is the way of least confrontation, to compare what the Phelps do to a protest as incredibly mild as a kiss-in, that position is in ignorance of history.

  54. Mano Singham says

    I am sorry that you were hurt by my words and I apologize. I never intended any such outcome.

    I cannot respond to each comment individually but am responding to those comments where I think I can clarify the issue.

  55. Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain says

    Mano, here is a clue. Never compare the actions of a group the strives to keep a minority group oppressed and possibly killed to a group that strives for equal rights. They are not the fucking same thing.

    That is insane troll logic.

  56. Brownian says

    The comment from Josh that came in response to your initial “Freethought Police” comment and after my response, the one you responded to?

    Are you fucking kidding? What’s wrong with people like you that honesty and integrity is anathema?

  57. Brownian says

    Doing so does not mean that one is necessarily equating them or their actions with whatever group or issue happens to be under discussion.

    Wait, what? You wrote:

    I saw this as the flip side of the Westboro Baptist people who go and picket the funerals of gay people and soldiers to make their point.

    ‘Flip side’. As in the other side of the same record.

    They are free to say what they want and believe what they want but going to people’s funerals to demonstrate seems, again, needless provocative.

    “again, needless provocative.” Just like the kiss-in.

    Yes, you did equate their actions. I’m not going to belabour this point, but really? That’s pretty weak.

  58. Beatrice says

    I was reaching for the most well-known example of a group that seems to be alienating people with their actions.

    Are you serious?

    You can’t just take an attribute of these two groups and compare it, completely ignoring all the rest about them.
    Group A alienates people and group B alienates people. Let’s compare them! (While completely ignoring all the hows and whys of each one of them)

    It is similar to using Hitler and the Nazis as comparisons for something. Doing so does not mean that one is necessarily equating them or their actions with whatever group or issue happens to be under discussion. One is simply using them because people know what you are talking about.

    Yeah, and comparisons to Nazis fail most of the time because they have been trivialized beyond recognition.

  59. Happiestsadist says

    Remember, pointing out that queer people are human beings with rights (a fact that disgusts bigots) is EXACTLY like calling for the deaths and torment of queer people. Trufax. Glad we have a straight guy here to tell us what’s what.

  60. Happiestsadist says

    I’d say you should take your fat-shaming elsewhere, but maybe you should actually learn a bit more about why it’s bullshit all the way down instead.

  61. David Marjanović says

    Perhaps I should clarify some things right at the outset. I have no trouble at all with gay people kissing in public, parades, demonstrations, and so forth. Equal rights means equal rights and what heterosexual people can do should be allowed to homosexuals as well. I perhaps should have emphasized that it is the organizing of the kiss-in in the restaurants that seems to me to be ‘needlessly provocative’.

    What – are restaurants not in public?

    I saw this as the flip side of the Westboro Baptist people who go and picket the funerals of gay people and soldiers to make their point. They are free to say what they want and believe what they want but going to people’s funerals to demonstrate seems, again, needless provocative. Of course, it is their goal to be provocative but I think events have shown that it is a losing strategy.

    Um, no. The thing about the Westboro Baptists is that their goal is evil. No strategy can save them from that.

    Their goal, of course, isn’t to be provocative; that’s something they don’t care about, it’s collateral damage. Their goal is to have all gay people either magically become heterosexual or die and burn in hell forever.

    Finally, I cannot help but join all the people who have trouble believing their eyes: did you seriously compare kissing in public with disturbing a funeral?

    Similarly, I would not recommend that atheists go inside the churches of even the most anti-atheist preacher and confront them there. It seems to me to be better to do counter-protests in a clearly public sphere.

    Restaurants are in the public sphere. Churches are usually more or less restricted to a particular congregation.

  62. David Marjanović says

    I was reaching for the most well-known example of a group that seems to be alienating people with their actions.

    They’re not alienating people with their actions so much as with their goals.

    It is similar to using Hitler and the Nazis as comparisons for something. Doing so does not mean that one is necessarily equating them or their actions with whatever group or issue happens to be under discussion.

    What – – –

    Yes, of course it means you’re equating them and their actions. I strongly recommend you never do it when you don’t actually mean it.

    Where I come from, in Austria, it is even illegal to “make National Socialism appear harmless”. (This is usually directed against Holocaust denial, but it works or ought to work both ways. Do not trivialize National Socialism by comparing it to something trivial. I would never use terms like “grammar nazi”, let alone “feminazi”.)

  63. Frank says

    “Is there a reason why you feel just fine making the most grossly insulting, demeaning statements (I know you don’t think they are, but they are) yet never deign to respond to the people hurt by them? ”

    One line from a post in support of LGBT rights. From a blogger who has consistently been a supporter of LGBT rights.

    I can understand why you would want to point out why this was offensive, but was it really the “most” insulting and demeaning statement you’ve heard?

  64. Henry Gale says

    Doesn’t having a kiss-in change the story from a company encouraging its employees to not recognize basic human rights to gay people who like to kiss while sitting in a chicken joint?

    Maybe a better protest might be having gay couples and their friends dress up as wedding parties and crash their local Chik Fil A?

  65. Chiroptera says

    Henry Gale, #28: Doesn’t having a kiss-in change the story from a company encouraging its employees to not recognize basic human rights to gay people who like to kiss while sitting in a chicken joint?

    No.

    I’d explain, but I can’t figure out why someone would think this.

  66. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I am sorry that you were hurt by my words and I apologize. I never intended any such outcome.

    I appreciate that. I wish, however, that you’d spend some time reading and talking to activists so that you better understand these issues. I’m sure that it shocks you to be characterized this way, but your shallow understanding is not just offensive but actually harmful. You’re better than that, but you have some things to learn.

  67. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Frank:

    One line from a post in support of LGBT rights. From a blogger who has consistently been a supporter of LGBT rights.

    I can understand why you would want to point out why this was offensive, but was it really the “most” insulting and demeaning statement you’ve heard?

    You may not like my position, but don’t be dishonest. You know I wasn’t objecting to “just one line.” You know I was pissed at the doubling down Mano did in the comments, and the outrageous equivocation between a kiss-in and Fred Phelps. Honestly—why are you doing this? Anyone, whether you want to like them or not, deserves to be dealt with honestly. And you’re not doing that.

    Furthermore, it takes more than surface support of LGBT issues to genuinely support them. Making the kinds of equivocations and tut-tutting people for an innocuous demonstration does not give evidence of being a consistent supporter of LGBT rights. Part way? Yes. But not good enough. Yes, that’s right. I said not good enough. Straight people seem to think they’re owed rose petals strewn before them for the most tepid declarations of support and they act very offended indeed when their unconscious minimizing and bigotry gets called out.

    Too bad.

  68. 'Tis Himself says

    Another goal of the Westboro Phelps clan is to incite people to attack them. Then the Phelps sue the attackers. It’s a major source of revenue for them.

  69. says

    Restaurants are privately owned businesses open to the public. That subjects them to some laws but gives them wide latitude in other cases.

    If I recall correctly, sexual orientation is not one of the protected classes in the federal code (yet). If so, then it becomes a question of whether the relevant state code covers it as to whether such discrimination would be legal. Either way, it’s immoral.

    Personally, I don’t think the federal code should have had to have been changed to establish civil rights, but I take a very plain reading of the 14th amendment. That it did in practice is one of many examples showing that people will interpret the law according to prevailing biases.

    Chick-fil-A could still get around civil rights laws by deciding to expel anyone caught kissing or even touching in certain ways. They’d be asking for a lawsuit, though, if they applied the policy in an unfair manner.

  70. echidna says

    One is simply using them [Nazis] because people know what you are talking about.

    One is using them as a short-hand for “oppressive evil group”, without any thought or knowledge behind it, it seems.

    As an Australian child of Austrians, I grew up with a lot of Europeans who lived through WWII. I’ve never seen Holocaust survivors or anybody who lived under the Nazis invoke the Nazi’s as lightly as you do. And, no, if you use the term I know you are crassly using a thoughtless shorthand for “evil oppressive group”.

  71. smhll says

    Chiming in – yes, I think one has to provoke and engage to make any kind of progress. Being completely bland and discreet has rarely accomplished anything. (OK, I’m not dissing it as a survival technique, but I doubt that it helps in many other situations.)

  72. says

    Yes, Mano, using Hitler and the Nazis as a comparison bloody well does mean that “one is necessarily equating them or their actions with whatever group or issue happens to be under discussion.” Why the hell else would you compare someone to a Nazi? If you’re looking for an example of anything other than being evil scumbags, there are better comparisons for that purpose, and Nazis are not the go-to.

  73. says

    Seriously. Another cosigner here. I can’t really add to most of what Josh has said other than to wonder what the blistering hell made you think that this was an appropriate thing to say in the first place.

  74. B-Lar says

    So you only respect the opinions of others if you agree with them?

    I would not expect you to agree but I would expect you to appreciate the value of both side of the social justice coin. You might run the militant wing, and it might be that it is the only angle you would attack the problem from, but why would you leap in to shame someone who prefers a diplomatic approach?

    In this particular case, bigotry is being called out and sanctions are being cast by huge organisations. Bigots are like a petulant child who builds a sandcastle at low tide. They will tire themselves out screaming at the sea and the sea will come in regardless.

    Perhaps Mano believes that instead of mocking the child, we should instead root for the sea, and encourage other children to build their castles on the moral highground?

    I see value in both approaches, but I tend to fall on the side of the diplomats. I favour building bridges, not fences.

  75. B-Lar says

    I wanted to say that I understand what you are saying. I tried to read what you wee writing instead of what I was reading.

    Reading your post charitably, it makes sense. However, its probably best not to use hate groups in discussions about equivalence as this reduces the chance that your words will be read charitably.

  76. says

    So you only respect the opinions of others if you agree with them?

    Indeed. How dare we not respect the opinions of creationists, homeopaths, Klansmen, Flat Earthers, and everybody else on earth.

    Having an opinion and voicing it doesn’t entitle that opinion to any respect. Some opinions are stupid and harmful and should be shouted down.

    Bigots are like a petulant child who builds a sandcastle at low tide. They will tire themselves out screaming at the sea and the sea will come in regardless.

    Good grief, you liken the lessening of bigotry to a natural force that will happen all on its own. It doesn’t. It takes people pushing hard against it to lessen it, and that includes loudly shaming people who voice bigotry or give it credibility in any way.

    And bigots aren’t children. They’re (mostly) adults, they’re ignorant at best and malicious at worst, and holding their hands while shaming people who try to hold them accountable is counterproductive.

    Tl;dr: You have no fucking idea what you’re talking about and therefore ought to STFU with your tone-trolling until you get some damn education under your belt.

  77. says

    You do realize that it’s not simply marriage rights for GLBT people that are controversial, it’s the right of GLBT people to be themselves in public, the same way straight cis people are? You know, hold hands, kiss, and cuddle without being yelled at by bigots about “shoving your sex life down my throat”?

  78. left0ver1under says

    Mano,

    The concern trolls aren’t expecting a rational argument, they’re expecting obedience.

    Nothing you can say will placate them because they’re seeing and claiming things that aren’t there. Only total agreement with their opinions will satisfy them.

  79. KG says

    Indeed. For an even closer parallel, imagine Chick-Fil-A were giving money to organizations campaigning for a ban on inter-racial marriage. Would an inter-racial kiss-in be “needlessly provocative”? Would the mayor be wrong to fight against a restaurant permit for the company?

  80. itzac says

    Dear FTB sysadmins,

    Please buy a $5 can of air and blow out the sawdust and tinder from your servers so that the whole place doesn’t go up in flames every time one of your bloggers slips up.

    Gratefully yours,
    Itzac

  81. OrangePower says

    Wow, Josh, you remind me of the monkey with the cymbals in Toy Story 3. If anybody strays even an inch – even a micron – from the path you deem to be the ‘correct one’, they’d better be prepared for a flood of abuse and self-righteous indignation.

    For the record, I’m cynical about any grand social changes resulting from making out in a restaurant. It doesn’t make you Rosa Parks. It’s not so much a bad idea as a pointless one.

  82. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Please quote this alleged “abuse”.

    Please identify an incorrect statement among the “self-righteous indignation” (there’s nothing wrong with self-righteous indignation per se; it may be justified if it accompanies correct statements).

    If you’re cynical about this then you should be similarly cynical about Mano’s wish for “gay people kissing in public, parades, demonstrations, and so forth” “in a clearly public sphere.”

    And why does it have to be “grand” to be worthwhile?

    Hint: the world often changes by small increments. What we want in this case is for more people to become aware of Chick-fil-A’s bigotry. If a kiss-in gets media coverage, then more people will become aware of Chick-fil-A’s bigotry. That is the goal. You’ve falsely characterized the goal, but no one organizing this has overestimated or otherwise misunderstood it.

  83. says

    itzac, you drive by troll: disagreement is hardly a bad thing. When it leads to discussion it’s often fruitful.

    Your sneering is just unremarkable.

  84. Straight Johnny says

    @Ms Daisy and Josh:

    I am painfully unHomosexual, so I know I have no right to chime in here…but I will anyway. Until there’s legal equality for all human beings, just about ANYTHING is on the table to correct a long history of injustice. There’s no more rationale to waiting for it…it must be won.

    You’re right to call out the author’s privilege in this matter, he is a good and intelligent ally, but he and any other heterosexual for that matter, really can’t feel the social and private pain of a people who have been repressed and subject to horrible discrimination and violence for their seexuality. I come to defend the spirit of the author’s conviction, and anyone else’s, who is good and intelligent but cannot completely share in severity of your outrage.

    If you understand this inevitable lack of perspective, you’ll know to do much better than take offense when a friend comes to your aid…and save the snark for those who deserve it.

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