By Melanie Nathan, July 29, 2012
By now you have all read that the inventors of the chicken sandwich, Chick-Fil-A, have gone cuckoo, with clucked anti-gay cluck by owner Dan Cathy, who said the company was “guilty as charged” in its stance against same-sex marriage and equality. He made gay-hate comments which fueled protests by the LGBT community and threats to deny business permits to the multi-billion dollar enterprise, by pro-equality leaders such as the mayors of Boston and Chicago
Obviously, like my comrades, I am horrified at the comments and am disgusted by Dan Cathy and his bigoted lack of American values. Until now I had stayed away from writing the story because everyone is writing about it and there is plenty to read and not much more to say – or so I thought. But when I heard on CNN that the mayors were refusing to provide permits and noted potential lawsuits I found myself, an out lesbian, tapping into the importance of my own sense of American values.
The controversy began when Cathy elaborated on his “guilty as charged” comment in an interview on the Atlanta radio program The Ken Coleman show.
“I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.”
I know its this very rhetoric that fosters suicide amongst our teens as they feel the fiery hate of those who have misrepresented Bible and used evangelical interpretation to back their bigotry.
However, as grateful as I am for their support on the issues of equality, I cannot agree with the Mayors, Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago and Thomas Menino, Mayor of Boston, when they say they plan to keep Chick-Fill -A businesses out of their towns by refusing to provide business licenses and permits, for the reasons delineated below ; oh and before you get angry at me, Comrades, please read the plan which follows my contentions:-
1. Freedom of Speech– A great American value. Our U.S. Constitution affords Dan Cathy the right to say whatever he wants to say, and that he has done. It has brought an immense amount of negative attention to himself, his family and the Chick-fil-A legacy. His company will forever be associated with bigotry of the worst kind. Many people will not want to touch him or his company with a ten foot barge pole. People will be embarrassed to work for him and embarrassed to enter his stores. Who knows, by giving him the opportunity to open even more stores with more rentals may well contribute to the downfall of Chick–fil-A, as protests heighten and boycotts increase.
2. Freedom of Religion – A great American value. Our U.S. Constitution affords Dan Cathy the right to mess with religion any way he wants. He can misinterpret the Bible until the cows come home.
3. Lawsuits – A great American value. Our U.S. Constitution affords Dan Cathy the right to take the Mayors and Cities to court and there is a damn good chance that they will lose their lawsuits based on the above two contentions. Why give the bastard an opportunity to win and to be “right” when it comes to these two values? Why spend the taxpayers’ money to defend lawsuits that could possibly render Cathy a victory? Why not spend that money on pro-equality initiatives, anti-bullying programs, and even on the plan I outline below.
4. Ensure legislation of City anti-discriminatory ordinances (where none are yet in place,) that make licensing new stores conditional upon fair and equal business practices, with regard to service to clients and employment. Ensure City ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act ordinances) and perhaps also conditional permitting (mmm for all business). Then, once doors open, scrutinize every Chick-fil-A business for discriminatory practices, which, if exposed, could render lawsuits that are viable against the Company. These would then be cases which are based on solid ground and true American values for fairness and equality.
And now to my plan:
For the first month of business, LGBT activists, same-sex couples and families should visit the new Chick-Fil-A stores in hordes, at a time, waving rainbow flags, children in arms and hand, with lovers cuddling and kissing in regular ‘hetero-normative displays of public affection.’ We should walk politely up to counters and let the staff see our normalcy, our kindness and who we really are. We should spend our pink dollars, tip well, and bring good cheer. We should show the MIGHT and power of our pink dollar , while displaying our love in this world.
Then on the 30th day, after showing our pink power inside the venues, we should retreat to outside the venues. We will then boycott and show our pink power outside the venues, and in stark contrast to the first month, the total sales will fall. We will stand with our banners each and every day, outside each and every store and our loving signs will stand in stark contrast to protest the hate inside the stores, exposing the hate filled rhetoric and biblical distortions in the name of freedom of religion.
While we are doing this our pro-equality and supportive mayors should give us permits for free street vendor-ship right outside the very stores where Mr. Cathy is paying high rent. There we can have a ‘Permanent Pink Pride,’ market place selling our wares, rainbow food, flags, buttons and T shirts and educating the public about homophobia, anti-bullying, equality, employing voter registration, with booths telling our representatives about our equality stories to impact the repeal of DOMA …and yes I can go on.
It is time to be smart and plan and not be reactive. Imagine such a strategy as this – the constant press for our Permanent Pride enterprise and making money off the Chick-fil-A’s clientele while Mr. Cathy pays his high rent?
Imagine how much we can accomplish if we tackle Cathy and Chick-fil-A’s ‘anti-Americaness’ with our overt Americaness! Any takers?
Facebook- Melanie Nathan Advocacy
- Chick-fil-A beef puts mayor in pressure cooker (bostonherald.com)
- Chicago Wants to Ban Chick-fil-A (radio.foxnews.com)
- Mike Huckabee Organizes ‘Chick Fil-A Appreciation Day’ To Defend Restaurant’s Right To Be Anti-Gay (mediaite.com)
I respectfully disagree, because religious dogma-based gay-bashing coming from a company president ipso facto creates a hostile work environment for eventual LGBT employees as well as for those who support gay rights and/or who are related to, friends with et cetera gay people. Cathy has done to gays vis-a-vis his company, the equivalent of hanging a “No Jews allowed!” sign on his company’s doors. I think it is proper for elected officials to take a stance against unsafe work environments for minority employees. I do not believe that Cathy has any right to create an unsafe work environment for employees. Political scapegoating of minorities is completely unacceptable; and that is what is Cathy is doing; he is engaging in political scapegoating of minorities. If elected officials remain silent in the face of that crime against humanity, then they become complicit in it.
You are correct But you miss the point- All we have at this time are remarks which sparked mayors saying they wont issue permits. Let the employees bring their lawsuits that will be their rights. I agree gays are unlikely to apply for jobs, Who would want to work for them? But he is entitled to his freedom of speech and to express his religious dogma. That is all that he has done thus far. Correct he may create a milieu – but therein lies the lawsuits – you need to give him his permits – let him do business – the rest will unfold. That is the American way. We do NOT ban people because of their freedom to express themselves. That is un-American. The tongue in cheek strategy suggested by the article illustrates the point about being proactive rather than reactive. I want to win. I dont want to lose. Where is the case re hostile environment? You have to prove it with evidence – that indeed would be a good lawsuit – but if you do not allow him to operate there will never be such a case. NO ONE is telling the elected officials to remain silent. They should help the protests by creating micro business outside his stores….
What refreshing ideas! It’s true – the reaction is one of anger which perpetuates the problem but the solution calls for innovation which feels good and not frustrating for a change. Inspiring, thanks!