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Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Chick-fil-A Controversy: It's A Beautiful Thing

I'm sure most, if not all, of you have heard about the controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A. If you haven't, here's the short version: Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, came out as against marriage equality in support of "traditional values," and in response, proponents of marriage equality have been protesting and boycotting the fast food chain on a national level.

This- ALL of it- is a beautiful thing when you really think about it, albeit kind of a Catch-22.

Should we muffle someone's right to free speech or should we allow the oppression of equality?

For one, Cathy is exercising his right to free speech. He has the right to say what he feels and what he believes in. Thanks to religious freedom, he has the right to practice activities that coincide with his religious beliefs, including giving money to anti-LGBT organizations.

On the other hand, Americans have the right to protest and speak out their on beliefs which conflict with his.  Americans have a right to fight for equality, and no group (heterosexual couples) should have rights that are denied to another group (homosexual couples).  It is the epitome of "unconstitutional," and pretty much NOT what our Founding Fathers had in mind at all.  I'm fairly certain that the Founding Fathers would be pro-marriage equality.

Some people would be shocked to think that the Founding Fathers would be pro-LGBT equality.  I've even heard a guy once say "Our Founding Fathers would be rolling in the Christian graves if they knew what we [pro-LGBT activists] are doing here, but it needs to be done!"

For one, the Founding Fathers were NOT Christian.  Most were deist, a few were theist.  Several of them have been quoted with statements that are anti-religious, stating that they believed the world would be a better place without religion.  They founded our nation on freedom of religion (which also includes freedom from religion), equality, and liberty.

Second, marriage is NOT a religious institution.  Originally, marriage was created as a legal agreement for the purposes of social or financial gain.  (Some marriage scholars say you can go back even further, pre-dating any legal system, and see that marriages were a form of union between two people to raise children; most lasted until the kids were four years old.)  It wasn't until the 12th century that marriage was associated with love at all, and it also wasn't until then that marriage was associated with religion on a wide basis.  There are records of legal marriages that can be dated back to more than 4,000 B.C., millenia before it was ever mentioned in any religious doctrines.  Through the centuries, the various religions and cultures have adopted marriage and molded it to fit with their own beliefs, but they are far from being the original creator of marriage.

Anyway, back to the Chick-fil-A controversy.  Personally, I am very pro-marriage equality: I just can't wrap my head around any reason to deny equal rights to same-sex couples when our country was founded on equality.  Most people who oppose same-sex marriage do so because of their religious beliefs, but (as stated before) religion was not the originator of marriage and we have Separation of Church and State.

When it comes down to it, it's a battle between freedom of speech and the pursuit of equality, both of which should be protected.  Dan Cathy has every right to speak out against marriage equality, just like the American people have every right to speak out against him for donating millions of dollars to anti-LGBT organizations that try to oppress equality.

Strange as this may sound, I was really happy to see yesterday that there were amazing amounts of people flocking to Chick-fil-A both to support the chain and protest against it.  Both sides were exercising their right to free speech, the ability to demonstrate a variety of beliefs, and the freedom of choice.  Neither side felt fear when speaking out.  We should be a nation that encourages people to speak up for what they believe and exchange ideas, so long as it's done in a respectful, non-violent fashion.

Do I think Chick-fil-A will go out of business because of this?  Probably not.  But I do believe, with all my heart, that we will someday see marriage equality across the nation, and some day the people who were so adamantly anti-LGBT will be looked upon by future generations the same way young people today look back at those who fought against racial equality.  Equality will win.

What's it like to be gay and work for Chick-fil-A?  Read this.

1 comment:

  1. that's very insightful. i didn't think about it that way but you're right. i don't like that chick-fil-a is bigoted and hateful, but i am not taking my business there anymore and it's my right to make that choice. yes he has freedom of speech to say he doesn't like gay people but it's when he uses that free speach to try to put down and deny equal rights that it becomes a problem. how are we supposed to balance between freedom of speach and still get equal rights for those of us who are not heterosexual?