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01/07/2011

Our bottom line is equality. Businesses can decide if ours benefits or threatens their own

by Jeremy Hooper

In light of the whole Chick-Fil-A brouhaha of this past week, we keep getting the same note from the company's defenders. Whether in email or in forums, both on this site and elsewhere, there's this idea that by simply making note of an announced sponsorship or united advocacy campaign, we on the pro-LGBT side were acting like big, bad meanies. That's a compelling claim, if you consider the basic facts.

In order to start controversy, all this site had to do was simply make note of The Pennsylvania Family Institute's announced sponsorship with Chick-Fil-A. That's it. We simply had to repost a flyer that PFI had already created! From there, others weighed in, PFI abruptly scrubbed the flyer (without noting their action), and Chick-Fil-A Corporate tweeted its own interest in the matter (before issuing a carefully parsed statement two days later)

Now, If Chick-Fil-A was proud of the support and its public illumination, then there would be ABSOLUTELY NO PROBLEM ON THEIR END. That's the way it is with any number of pro-equality corporations, who quite proudly support LGBT events, pride marches, conferences, etc. Pro-equality companies tend to embrace diversity, progress, and inclusion, as well as those who advocate for it. I've consumed enough corporate-donated food and stashed away enough corporate-branded swag to know this to be true.

So that's what's so darn telling about these kinds of corporate developments: That when we highlight them, more often than not, the company (be it privately or publicly held) tends to back away, demand their name be scrubbed, renounce support, etc. Whereas the reaction, both from Chick-Fil-A and PFI could've been "So what?" or "Yeah, we're proud to support each other on 'protect marriage' causes," we instead got walk backs, disavowals, convenient explanations, shot-messengers, and scrubbed flyers. And this is how it plays out almost every time.

That corporate reality is not on us, our movement, or the canard that "militant" gays wield a mutant power of intimidation. Everyone -- consumers, business owner, stock holders, advocacy groups -- has their own outlooks, choices, and free will. In America's marketplace, equality is the outlook that seems to be winning, with "pro-family" outreach an increasing liability.

***

*Oh, and this also goes for our more recent revelations about Chick-Fil-A/WinShape's connections to the larger marriage movement. If they are proud of this fight, then they should like our bringing it to light.

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