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02/27/2007

Development that makes us less than cosi

by Jeremy Hooper

Picture 6-50So this weekend in New Rochelle, NY, an exhibit meant to put the "human face" on the gay marriage issue went on display at a local Cosi Restaurant (77 Quaker Ridge Rd). A collection of photos and personal stories that will be taken to Albany in May for a lobbying session, the "traveling photo album" is intended to show the widespread support for same-sex marriage that exists in the Empire State. To demonstrate that the folks who are truly hurt by marriage bans are real people, not political football (read all about the exhibit in this Journal News piece).

Principled.

So how long has New Rochelle's Cosi branch committed to display the exhibit? One month. But how long will they actually display the exhibit? Well, we have just received word from our friends at the Empire State Pride Agenda that Cosi's corporate bosses have ordered the display to be taken down after they received "a flood of emails" in complaint! And due to the e-grievances, we've been told that the chain will unceremoniously pull the exhibit right away (if they haven't already)!

Wow, what a great message that's gonna send! ::eye roll, head shake::

So what can you do? Well, you can WRITE TO COSI CORPORATE right now and tell them that you do not appreciate this capitulation! Clearly this "flood of emails" had to have come from one of the large "pro-family" groups on the national scene (We're looking into it). We'd be willing to bet that many of these complaints didn't even come from New Rochelle residents, but rather from members of our opposition who caught wind of the story when it hit the Internet this weekend, and who proceeded to send out one of their "action alerts" to their mailing lists (again, if anyone knows anything, please let us know). In order to combat that sort of response, we need every one of our supporters to click the link above and send the eatery's overlords a message. We need you, your friends, your family, and your WHOEVER to let them know what's up! Let them know that you will not stand for this sort of capitulation. Let them know that supporting our lives and loves is the right choice. Let them know that bias is a nasty, bunk-ass crap log! Let them know that Subway also knows how to make sandwiches! Just let them know something!

We simply cannot have our potential allies backing down from what's right! This writer LOVES Cosi's Hummus and Fresh Veggies sandwich (heavy on the basil). He also loves Andrew. He will gladly sacrifice the former if its handlers are so willing to withdraw support for the latter.

WRITE TO COSI CORPORATE!!! [Cosi]
Gay Rights advocates step up lobbying Traveling photo album puts human touch to fight for same-sex marriage [Journal News]

**UPDATE, 2/28: The controversy has hit the mainstream media:
Photo display on same-sex marriage prompts controversy [Journal News]
NY restaurant to remove exhibit of same-sex marriage photos [AP via Newsday]

From the above reports:

Brien Gately, a spokesman for Cosi, said the exhibit had to come down because it didn't go through the company's approval process for artwork. "The comments we received were not the basis for the removal of the display," Gately said, adding that some comments were positive.
...
"We appreciate the opportunity to participate in the LGBT family photo album project through the reception held last night in our restaurant," Gately said yesterday, "and we recognize the artistic nature of the photographs. Unfortunately, the display was not approved through our proper procedures, and the restaurant has been asked to have the display removed."

Hmm..this goes against every bit of information we have on the situation. And how could a gala reception have come to be without corporate knowing the details behind the display?

We're far from done on this one...

**JOYOUS UPDATE: The display will stay!

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Your thoughts

Have to agree with you about the Hummus and Veggie sandwich.

Posted by: Jonathan | Feb 27, 2007 7:24:23 PM

I live right near New Rochelle. It's a pretty conservative area.

I'm disgusted.

Posted by: Leah | Feb 27, 2007 8:22:09 PM

Ooh, if you are in the area and want to check out the scene, it'd be appreciated. If you happened to have a cmaer in tow, it'd be even better :-)

Also, we really want to find out who is responsible for the mass emailing. Even in a semi-conservative area (new Rochelle is far from the South), I just can't believe a "flood" of complaints could just happen organically. If you hear anything -- again, fill us in!

Posted by: G-A-Y | Feb 27, 2007 8:26:01 PM

New article here:

www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070228/NEWS02/702280355/1018/NEWS02

And a new reason for the show coming down:

"...Brien Gately, a spokesman for Cosi, said the exhibit had to come down because it didn't go through the company's approval process for artwork. 'The comments we received were not the basis for the removal of the display,' Gately said, adding that some comments were positive."

Uh huh.

Posted by: werdna | Feb 28, 2007 9:31:26 AM

Great news! Cosi agreed to let the pictures go back up; when I left the restaurant about an hour ago, they were there with hammers, remounting them. Thanks so much to everybody who called and wrote in - we did it! Please forward this on to everyone in your networks, so we can again call and write Cosi to thank them (very important). And go get a panini at your local franchise... they're really pretty good. --Matt, from New Rochelle

Posted by: Matt Weinstein | Feb 28, 2007 2:31:26 PM

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