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.)