By: Tanya Dodd-Hise
So we all know and have heard the latest broohaha regarding fast food chain Chick-Fil-A. Our social network sites have blown up with constant updates, stories, blogs, feeds, protests, counter-protests and such about it. Most people, by now, are pretty sick of it – at times, myself included. About a week or so after the news broke that the CEO openly and proudly declared his stance of anti-marriage equality (and thus speaking for the entire company, franchises and all), I read an interesting blog written on The Huffington Post regarding the whole situation. Here was my comment about the blog, as well as a link to the blog itself:
“It is sometimes so hard to sit by while people who say they are my friend/family who care about MY family, will also say that they have no intentions of boycotting anything. That’s fine. As long as they are fully aware that their money goes to organizations who are determined to keep my family from being equal to theirs. It’s not about the chicken sandwich. And yes, everyone is entitled to free speech, freedom of religion, and an opinion. But please think about it, before you go and spend your money there, of all the times that you have said that you support my family – and then don’t. Either don’t spend your money at a business that supports inequality, or don’t tell me that you love and adore my family. These are the kinds of organizations that keep MY marriage from being recognized, and require ME to adopt my own daughter. Just so you know.”
I encourage anyone who reads my blog to read Conor Gaughan’s piece. It is just another real person writing from his real perspective, trying to reach his readers so that they can see where he is REALLY coming from.
So the supporters of Chik-Fil-A have now planned a Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day on August 1st, and the opposers have planned all sorts of protests on the same day. There will be same-sex PDAs/kiss-ins at some chains, while others plan to wait in line and order water, or order food and then cancel. To me this seems like an open show of hostility that will only make us, the LGBT community, seem petty and ridiculous. Get mad at me if you want, but I think that the best way to show our opposition to the company’s declared stance is to first NOT GO THERE. And if we choose to go there for an organized protest, then fine, exercise the right to peaceably gather with signs that show our thoughts and feelings (grammar and spelling correct, of course).
All of this has also got me to thinking about my children. What would I want my children to learn about all of this? Yes, we used to eat at Chick-Fil-A, but it has been a long time, as we stopped going there over a year ago when we first learned of the company’s donations towards hate and anti-equality groups. When we stopped going there, Noah didn’t really get it, and we didn’t really try to explain it. But now that he is twelve years old, with all of it in the news and on the lips of virtually everyone, I did try to explain to him the reason why WE, our family, doesn’t go there anymore. I’m not sure if he understands completely, but I wanted to take the time to explain to him this stand that we are taking. I also explained to him that yes, one small group (ie: our family) CAN make a difference in the bottom line when there are lots and lots of small groups doing the same thing. I also explained to him that it is no difference than in school, where I expect him to stand up for anyone who is getting treated differently, for any reason, because it is simply the right thing to do. Nicholas, on the other hand, is a grown man who lives on his own. He worked at our local Chick-Fil-A when he was a teenager, and has decidedly chosen to continue to frequent there. Sure, it is disappointing to hear him say that he loves his gay moms, but he also loves their chicken sandwich. Did I not teach him to take a stand against bigotry and inequality? I thought I had, but once they are grown and gone, it really isn’t my decision to make for him. I love him regardless of where he eats. And I know that he is young, and one day he will be faced with something in HIS life that will force him to either make a stand for what is right, even if it means giving up something he likes or doing something that might be uncomfortable.
This is the conclusion that I have come to, since I have many conservative friends and family, who think that all of us should just “shut up and get over it”: It doesn’t affect them personally, so it isn’t as important to most as it is to those of us fighting for marriage equality and equal treatment. Their marriage is always recognized, and they enjoy all of the rights and privileges that go along with that. But as for me and my house, I will always and continually teach them about taking a stand in the face of something that is wrong. And I will continue to teach them to take a stand against anybody doing wrong against another group, whether it directly affects them or not.
“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock”
~ Thomas Jefferson