Kissin’ Chicken

The recent statements made by the president of Chick-fil-A have spawned a firestorm of reactions. Whether pro or con many Americans have an opinion of the events. Last week, those who support marriage equality staged formal and informal Kiss-Ins at Chick-fil-A restaurants to show their disagreement – and, in some cases, disdain – for Mr. Cathy’s opinions. Ironically, Chick-fil-A made a swift and solid statement that the corporation does not discriminate against any groups including sexual orientation. After Mr. Cathy made his statement,  his supporters organized Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day which produced record setting revenues. Taking into account Chick-fil-A’s business model, this is not a surprise but it will lead to a further rift between the LGBT community and those with certain religious leanings. Throughout the Appreciation Day, I wonder if the customers realized that Chick-fil-A had a policy indicating protection of sexual orientation.

Does policy trump the words of senior leadership? The company’s inclusion statement does not include support of same-sex marriage and Mr. Cathy’s statements do not directly discriminate against the LGBT community, only their right to marry. Technically, Mr. Cathy did not violate the policy but what message does this send to the employees of Chick-fil-A who are LGBT? I can only imagine how they might feel. Even with policies to protect from discrimination, it has got to hurt when the president of the company you work for acknowledges that he will not support your marriage happiness. While Mr. Cathy is entitled to express his opinion (thank you Bill of Rights!), the consequences are higher because of his position. The company’s policy to protect diversity might not be enough to counterbalance his statements. After all, he is the boss.

The LGBT community is one of the last large groups in America that does have protection in the form of legislation. Some of the people who oppose LGBT rights and same-sex marriage are the same ones who supported segregation and viewed interracial marriage the same way they view same-sex marriage. I hope the LGBT employees of Chick-fil-A and their supporters can find solace.

Don’t forget to CELEBRATE!


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