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03/05/2012

The other side's work is rarely limited to marriage; coverage of their work shouldn't be either

by Jeremy Hooper

There are few people in America who are more pro-marriage-equality than I am. Not just politically, but personally. I seize any and every opportunity to have the conversation, even when it might be a difficult one, proudly stating the facts that I know firsthand. I'm not someone who thinks that our movement has prioritized marriage at the expense of all else -- I think it's the right fight at the right time, with our winning conversation affecting change in any number of areas.

But with that out of the way, I now want to present an example where this generation's marriage focus can actually reduce the larger point. The snippet comes from the New York Times:

As I was speaking with Mr. Lewkowicz, other young people, students at New York University, were gearing up for a demonstration outside Weinstein dining hall the following day. The issue there is the presence of a Chick-fil-A.

The N.Y.U. outpost is the only branch of the Southern chain in New York City. Led by Hillary Dworkoski, a freshman, some students want it evicted from the campus because Chick-fil-A has given money to groups opposing same-sex marriage. That the company, which is led by evangelical Christians, has given tens of millions more through its foundation to help send financially disadvantaged children to college and assist the poor did not offset things in Ms. Dworkoski’s mind. Nor did it seem especially relevant that gay marriage, being legalized in one state after another, has gained a momentum in this country that a retailer of waffle fries is unlikely to impede. Last year, when the issue came before N.Y.U.’s Student Senators Council, the student government body, the group voted against banning Chick-fil-A as a matter of free expression.

FULL: Food Co-op Politics Leave a Bad Taste [NYT]

Right, so here's the thing: Yes, the organizations that Chick-Fil-A and its associated WinShape Foundation are known to support do, in fact, oppose same-sex marriage. But this situation goes way beyond that!! FRC? Exodus International? Focus on the Family? These organizations go far beyond anti-gay-marriage advocacy, with their work actually constituting an all-out onslaught against LGBT rights in general!

Plus remember, as I showed you back in the day, the Chick-financed WinShape retreat not only opposes marriage equality as policy, but actually won't even allow same-sex couples to purchase their accommodations. That's not just personal opposition: That's hostile business practice. When you run a lodging operation that tells same-sex couples, legally married or not, that the two cannot stay together as one, then you are drawing a clear line in society's sand. That line doesn't begin or end at the marriage licensing office. So if someone wants to extend that line right to the host organization's fast food drive thru? Then that is a fair consumer decision, and the consumer need not even be a marriage equality activist to make it.


Sometimes people will ask me why, during marriage campaigns, I'm so quick to point out the "ex-gay" ties that always abound among the supposedly marriage-focused folks who oppose us. The answer is simple: Because if you are someone who is trying to "change" me and who is also hoping to broadcast the scientifically-discredited message that LGBT people can and should "alter" their sexual orientations, then that is the root focus. If that kind of belief is intrinsic to your LGBT worldview, then it's unfair and unreasonable for anyone who is challenging or even merely covering the oppositional work to focus only on the marriage advocacy. I really want people to understand that, thus the reason why I harp on these often less visible outreach efforts that we know to permeate the "pro-family" movement.

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