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08/01/2012

Transcript from my morning CNN appearance (video forthcoming)

by Jeremy Hooper

Jeremy Hooper is a popular blogger and political consultant for GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation campaign. Thanks for being here.

JEREMY HOOPER, POLITICAL CONSULTANT, GLAAD: Great to be with you.

COSTELLO: Jeremy, last hour we talked to someone who supports Chick-Fil-A and Chick-Fil-A COO stance on same-sex marriage. But we wanted to hear from you this hour of NEWSROOM. So what are your plans for today?

HOOPER: Well, first I would remind everyone that this isn't really about fast food, chicken, or even Chick-Fil-A specifically. This is about a prominent American businessman who runs a $4.5 billion company who chose—during promotional appearances for his company, wearing a button for his company,—to say that gay Americans can bring the judgment of God and that we shake a fist at God through our marriages.

Now that goes well beyond marriage. People like Mike Huckabee and the National Organization for Marriage, they only want to talk about traditional marriage because that's all they ever want to talk about—or I should say
so-called "traditional marriage." But this goes much deeper. It really raises a lot of questions for the LGBT consumer.

COSTELLO: Well, I think some people -- I put this question on my Facebook page last week. Many people believe that it's OK to boycott Chick-Fil-A for the COO's belief because it's a free country, right? But they don't think it is right for mayors of cities to come and say, Chick-Fil-A, you're not welcome in my town.

HOOPER: Well, I would say personally, I have not really weighed in on that. Right now, there is no expressed ban. These are public officials who are stating their opinions and we all have that right.

COSTELLO: Do you support those bans?

HOOPER: If this went to another level where we had to weigh the non-discrimination elements and the values of a city versus the values of the company then I would form my opinion then. At this point, it's not there and, again, I have not -- that's not --

COSTELLO: What would bring it to that level?

HOOPER: It would be one of the city officials who would try to take that step. Right now, they have stressed, from what I've seen, most have stressed that they aren't speaking in their capacity as a public official. I know Christine Quinn was very clear to stress that this is her own opinion not the city of New York's opinion.

COSTELLO: And just one more question for you. This controversy is fuel for late night talk show hosts. Comics like Roseanne Barr have gone on Twitter saying anyone who eats at Chick-Fil-A deserves to get the cancer that's sure to come from eating antibiotic-filled tortured chickens. She backed away from that, but that's already out there. Are those kinds of things really helping your cause?

HOOPER: Those are distractions. I would say that this started as a very pure story. Dan Cathy had the choice to respond to what he said and also, not just to what he said, but to the company's anti-LGBT donations and to the fact that the company's retreat center bans same- sex couples.

But rather than respond to that, Dan Cathy, Mike Huckabee, the National Organization for Marriage are using side claims about free speech and religious freedom, both of which are bunk. We would like to talk about the issues.

And I would also say that if this was a pro equality company, I would report this story in the exact same way. The only difference is the way the company would respond. Starbucks, Facebook—those companies run
into equality because they know it's good business. And we believe it's good business.

COSTELLO: Jeremy Hooper from GLAAD, thank you for joining us this morning.

HOOPER: Thank you so much.

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