A Lesbian Mom’s Perspective on Chick-Fil-A

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).


Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Protest Rally @ White House – May 2010

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


  1. says

    I agree with Thomas on this one. I am not gay but I support anything that will give people who love each other equal rights. To me it’s just chicken so I would find another place. My loyalty goes to people rather than corporations.

  2. says

    Great job, Tanya! For some people who have never experienced discrimination, this seems to be such a hard concept to grasp. No minority ever won equality without the express, active support of the majority.

    Silence = death. Hmm, where have I heard that before?

  3. Carey H says

    Thank you, Tanya! As my father always said, you must stand up for what’s right, regardless of whether you are in the group being hurt in any particular situation.

  4. ABtflDisaster says

    Tanya,I have posted a lot on FB about the whole situation recently – as I am sure you have seen. And I have received both positive and negative comments. (Today’s was nuts when I changed my profile picture!) Here’s the thing… I believe in Free Speech and Freedom of Religion. CFA has every right to voice their belief of us and donate to causes they choose to – just like I have every right stand up against what I believe to be injustice and bigotry. I can only hope and pray that someone will have their minds opened, even if only enough to bring questions into it. It is so much more than a chicken sandwhich. It is you and your family and me and mine. It is Anderson Cooper, Ellen DeGenerous, and Wanda Sykes. We are people – with names, hearts, and souls. We have sons, daughters, pets, and families. And we deserve to be Equal.

  5. Tosha says

    What I don’t understand is how it could possibly be difficult to stop eating a stupid chicken sandwich. It’s just a chicken sandwich. So it doesn’t seem like a big stand to me to stop eating them. Once you know what they stand for – anti equality – you just DON’T eat them anymore, period. It seems if you DO eat one, knowing what Chik-Fil-A stands for, then you’re making a clear statement AGAINST gay families and their rights. Doesn’t it hurt you that your son still eats there? What is he trying to say to you? At any rate, thanks for the piece Tanya, and if people really want a cxn sandwich, I hear McDonald’s has one – Southern Style Cxn sand – that tastes the same, and so far, no reports of anti-gay money being spent by them!

  6. Tosha says

    To be clear, I’m not saying that the protests and the boycotts shouldn’t happen – you have to sprerad the word. I’m saying it’s pretty easy to stop eating a certain chicken sandwich if you care AT ALL about other people’s rights.

  7. says

    I don’t want to be the last person so I stick up for my friends and fight for their rights, period and am not friends with those that don’t value human rights and will eat a crappy chicken sandwich over a friendship.

    First they came for the communists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.

  8. Lucy Mcalister says

    This is America, the land of free speech, and its just a chicken sandwich. Everyone just be happy, and secure if who you are, why does everyone need everyones approval for their choices in life. Variety is the spice of life, just be happy, and lets all join forces and boycott gass stations on a certain day, nobody purchase gasoline. We are needed as a force for bigger things than chicken. Pick a day nationwide and NOBODY purchase gasoloine on that day, or we will be paying five bucks a gallon.

  9. Carey H says

    Lucy, you’re kidding, right? We’re not looking for approval, we’re looking for LEGAL RIGHTS. I hope you’re just being sarcastic.

  10. Tanya Dodd-Hise says

    Thank you everyone for your thoughts and comments. Yes Tosha, it does sting a LOT that my son still goes there. I hope one day soon he will learn what it is to truly take a stand, even in the little things. And Lucy, I’m not sure I get your train of thought, but whatever – I refuse to let this issue ruin one more day for me. To all of the rest of you….LOVE YOU!

  11. Susan howard says

    Great post
    I am pretty pragmatic and while marriage acknowledgement may seem more emotional, you don’t recognize my family, one thing I go back to is social security. Why should same sex couples pay into it if they don’t get the benificary benifits. Also the cost and stupidity of adopting your own child. These facts make help confused people get why it’s such a big deal. It’s not only recognition, it’s fiscal. Beyond the fact that it’s unfair and sucky.
    Tosha I love how you are like it’s just chicken everyone, stop eating the sandwich.
    Great debate.


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