As more and more politicians and corporations embrace a redefinition of marriage to include openly homosexual, bisexual and transgender partners, the insistence on a Biblically- defined marriage as a male-female union has put Chick-fil-A head Dan Cathy in the middle of a firestorm that has people kissing in public.
Using social media grass roots gay rights activists organized a same-sex kiss day on Aug. 3 at Chick-fil-a locations to show publicize their support for same-sex marriage. Organizers urged protesters to post their kissing photos and videos online. The bulk of the protesting occurred in Atlanta and Los Angeles.
Political units also commented on the Chick-fil-A controversy with the mayors of Boston, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Chicago speaking out publically on the controversial topic.
In a letter Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino wrote that he urged Cathy to “back out of your plans to relocate to Boston.” Washington ,D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray’s tweets included the statement, “You think Chick-fil-A’s support for bigotry is an embarrassment? I agree!”
In a later statement Gray said while he cannot legally bar Chick-fil-A from opening locations in the District he “opposes Chick-fil-A’s corporate support of organizations that actively work to deny equal rights to gays in a number of areas- including marriage equality, employments non-discrimination statues and adoption.”
Chick-fil-A’s vocal stance in the middle of the gay-marriage debate has even lead to its chicken and biscuits being used as a stunt by Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) at a Congressional Black Caucus gathering. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) said West offended the entire caucus by delivering food from Chick-fil-A at a weekly meeting about six months ago.
While there seems to be a new wave of tolerance towards support of marriage equality, supporters of “traditional marriage” are being persecuted for their opposition.
Derek McCoy, spokesperson for Maryland Marriage Alliance, recalled an incident when petitioners against gay-marriage had their names and addressed released online for the public. Gay rights activists visited the homes of these petitioners harassing them.
“Tolerance is a one way street according to gay activists,” said McCoy. “It’s all about tolerance as long as it’s tolerance towards you. You don’t want me to be able to say anything in the public sphere.”
While the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has turned their attention to supporting marriage equality for the Lesbian. Bisexual, Gay and Transgender community, they stand in opposition about hindering citizen’s First Amendment rights to free speech and expression who people who support “traditional marriage.”
“Every American has the right to not be harassed or victimized,” said the NAACP Washington Bureau Director Hilary Shelton. “It’s a distraction and usually shows down the process of us making the best of the situation. There should be a discourse and debate discussion.
Daryl Hannah, who is a spokesperson for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said that their opposition not against freedom of speech against marriage equality, but where corporations spend their profits.
“This [same-sex kiss day] was about showing people that this restaurant funds groups that support very violent to LBGT groups,” said Hannah.
Since 2003 Chick-fil-a has donated more than $5 million to groups that support “ex- gay therapy” and organizations considered hate groups by the non-profit civil rights organization, Southern Poverty Law, like the Family Research Council.
“The beauty of the Constitution is that everyone has their personal rights and are entitled to their beliefs,” said Hannah, but he is concerned about corporations who support groups that preach reparative therapy.