Amid the political hysteria and seeming abandonment of common sense surrounding gay marriage comments by the CEO of Chick-fil-A, a refreshing voice of reason has now emerged with which I entirely concur. I’m happy to say I support marriage equality, freedom of speech and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Protestors against the Atlanta-based chicken restaurant chain are all too quick to cry out accusations of discrimination. The irony here, however, is that any potential discrimination is not on the part of Dan Cathy’s operation, but rather his opposition. Thankfully Mayor Bloomberg recognizes this distinction and appears wise enough not to follow suit with others in his position. What will be wiser is for the others to align with Bloomberg.
I disagree with Mr. Cathy’s position on gay marriage and “family values.” Still, he has the right to his beliefs, and– though in my opinion unwise for any business that relies on a customer base to take a stand on any polarizing political issue– he has the right to express it. It’s simple freedom of speech, appropriate or not.
In turn, we the customers have the right to choose to either patronize or steer clear of a Chick-fil-A. Anyone behind the counter will be happy to take money from a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, an atheist, a gay, or a martian, because it’s just another customer ordering a chicken sandwich. After all, as the company states on its website: “We appreciate all of our customers and are glad to serve them at any time.” Mr. Cathy has not declared that gay people are unwelcome in his restaurants; this in itself would be illegal and a reason to react. Instead, he simply expressed his viewpoints, which– disagree with them as I do– are his to have. Moreover, given decades of running the business on “biblical principles”, none of this should come as any surprise.
Am I going to develop a complex and feel inferior if I choose to enter a Chick-fil-A? Absolutely not. Such complaints against the company seem entirely unfounded, as no instances of discrimination or harassment have been cited. It seems that anyone who goes in for a piece of chicken will receive the same, equal level of “second-mile” customer service, just as Mr. Cathy’s operation has pledged to provide all along.
Neither the chain as a whole nor the CEO himself is going to determine the outcome of gay marriage in this country. However, some will attempt to “better” the situation by making it worse. So in the meantime, have a Chick-fil-A sandwich, or don’t. Either way, listen to Mayor Bloomberg! His voice of reason shapes my own.