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How the fast food debate would've played out if the intent was tolerant

by Jeremy Hooper

201207270908Knowing of the Thick-chil-I COO's strong opinions on the subject, a local paper recently asked fast food magnate Cathy Dan about supporting same-sex marriage. "Guilty as charged," she replied in a calm, principled tone.

A few days later, LGBT blogger Jerome Cooper of the site Good On You stumbled upon a speech that Cathy Dan had given to a smaller market radio show. On said show, Dan said the following:

"…I think we are inviting God's blessing on our nation when we open our mind to Him and say 'you knew what you were doing when you created gay people,' and I pray God's continued blessing on generations that have such prideful, committed attitudes to think that we have the ability to end discrimination in our lifetimes."

Then, a couple of days later, Cooper stubbled upon a speech in which Dan said the following:

"It's very clear in reality, if we look at society today, we see all the twisted up kind of stuff that's going on. People trying to ban marriage rights for certain people and all the other kinds of things that we do—if you go upstream from full equality, in the constitution, you will see that because we have not acknowledged the nature of civil rights and because we have not thanked the founders for putting crucial church/state separation in our founding principles, that we have been left victim to the foolishness of discrimination, and as result, we are suffering the divisiveness of a society and culture that has not acknowledged peace or not thanked gay people for their contributions—it's left us with a deprived discourse. It's tragic that we've wasted so much time on inequality."

As to be expected, the media caught wind on these comments and the story went crazy viral. Everyone was quoting Cathy Dan, and all consumers were forming opinions. Some liked Thick-chil-I's food more and some liked Thick-chil-I's food less. Ms. Dan was more than ready to accept the way the marketplaces, both ideas and business, played out. She knew what she said was right and she was principled enough to stand by her own words.

In a perfect world, this is how the information stream would play out. Facts would be presented and then the person or persons at the center of that stream would address the lay of the land, as it stands.

This is how it does tend to play out with pro-equality companies and businesspeople. Companies like Starbucks, Google, Facebook, and Amazon, when confronted with their own advocacy on behalf of equality, essentially reply, "Yeah, we're pro-LGBT—so what?" They state their principles and stand by them, just like my fictional Cathy Dan.

But not so on the other side of the fight for fairness. Instead, the scrutinized company head instantly accuses people like me of twisting his words. His or her defenders start jumping to ridiculous "free speech" charges. Supporters refuse to actually address or even acknowledge the actual comments that elicited the scrutiny. The situation, so straightforward and with such a clear set of facts, becomes a muddy mess of commentary—a rabbit hole that swallows up the heart of the matter (or so the deliberate obfuscates hope).

This ongoing Chick-fil-A controversy is just another reminder of how glaringly unbalanced this marriage equality debate truly is. Our side owns its work and words while the opposition runs away from that which they know is indefensible. Every time and always.

If there were a Cathy Dan and she had said the things I quoted above, I would have reported them in *EXACTLY* the same way I did when I set this current Chick ball in motion. The difference lies in the inescapable difference in terms of merit, not in what the far-right words wants to paint as skewed reporting.

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