I do not eat at Chik-Fil-A. I am a vegetarian, so I have no need to go there. Plus, we only have one in our state and it's not terribly close to me. So, there's that.
It's been hard to ignore the buzz about the restaurant chain lately, though. As we've all heard by now, COO Dan Cathy made some remarks regarding his support of the "biblical definition of the family unit." He also spoke of the fact that we, as a nation, are "inviting God's judgement" if we do not support that definition. As many news sources have pointed out, he/the company donates to organizations such as Exodus International.
It bothers me when someone talks about the traditional family, the Biblical definition of marriage, and so forth. My family was created through adoption. What if someone decides that my family isn't legitimate enough for their liking? (You may think I am exaggerating here, but there are some anti-adoption people out there who literally terrorize adoptive parents.) I guess you could say that I have a traditional marriage but why is tradition so important? Times change. There are passages in the Bible that would seem ludicrous to us today, if we were to follow them to a T. We, as a society, change and evolve. We used to smoke in hospitals, people!
At first I didn't invest myself too much in the Chik-Fil-A drama. But then a friend of mine sent me an email that caused me to take a closer look. She is gay. She is married and she and her wife have three children. She spoke of how frustrating it is to have all of these people sitting around and talking about (and making decisions about) HER family. Why does everyone get a say, for crying out loud? I never thought about it quite that way, but her point is a valid one. I have to confess that I've always found it irritating that the majority of the people who make laws regarding reproductive rights will never, ever be pregnant (cuz they have penises, in case you weren't following my drift).
In the end, I guess I'm not sure if this topic is my business or not. I'm not gay. I don't eat chicken. To me, though, it does speak to a larger issue, which is civil rights. And I do care about that. A lot of people on Facebook are saying that they support Chik-Fil-A because they support free speech. They say that they appreciate that Dan Cathy stood up for his beliefs. As far as I can tell, they in no way found his remarks to be homophobic. People who went to Chik-Fil-A yesterday (after the call from Mike Huckabee to patronize the company on August 1st) had a variety of reasons for going, but many were also quick to say that their support of Chik-Fil-A was not backed by ill intent. I saw lots of " I do not support gay marriage" . . . quickly followed by ameliorating statements such as "I have nothing against gay people." And see, here is where I have a problem. If you have a friend who happens to be gay (and I guarantee that you do, whether you think so or not) . . . if you can look that person in the eye and say, "I don't want you to have the same civil rights that I do (marriage), but that doesn't mean I don't like YOU, silly!" . . . I am not sure that you are much of a friend after all.
How can someone say that they support denying civil rights to an entire population of people (in this case, folks who happen to be gay) and not think that sentiment is homophobic? I just cannot wrap my brain around it. Someone on my Facebook page mentioned the fact that I don't eat meat but it doesn't mean that I hate people who do eat meat. That is true - I don't hate carnivores. However, it is not an apples to apples comparison. I choose to be a vegetarian. I did not choose to be heterosexual. It just so happens that my natural inclination is that I dig the menfolk (speaking of which, have you been watching the men's swimming events in the Olympics? Whew!) When someone says that they disagree with homosexuality . . . I mean, how does that work? It's like saying that you disagree with my skin color. It is 2012 - are we seriously still debating the "innate vs. choice" thing?
Although I care a lot about the joint topics of civil rights and discrimination, sometimes I do have a hard time understanding why some folks get so worked up about opposing same-sex marriage. I recently told a friend, "If you and your partner got married, the only way I can think of that it would affect my life is that I'd need to buy you a gift."
"We don't plan to get married," he replied.
"Well, good," I said, "Because I didn't really want to buy ya'll a gift." I was kidding, of course. I would buy a gift. But other than that, what's it to me who gets married and who doesn't? I struggle to understand how it would somehow damage my "traditional" marriage or the moral fabric of our country (with its 50% divorce rate).
As an aside, did you know that the Prime Minister of Iceland is gay (and married to her long-time partner)? Did you know that no one in Iceland gives a rip? Seriously, it seems to be a non-issue - not just in Iceland but in many countries. Oh, but that we Americans were as evolved!
I think part of my frustration with this topic is actually something more akin to embarrassment. I am sorry that my friends and family members who are gay have to deal with this every day. I mean, it is one thing for me to be outraged as a human being, but the reality is that I don't live with this discrimination as a constant in my life. For me it's more of an outrage by proxy, I suppose. It hurts my heart
I wish I had some neat and tidy way of wrapping up this little rant of mine. I don't. This is messy. However, my final thought is this: I believe that discrimination is wrong. I would go so far as to say that discrimination in any form is wrong but the two-faced "we still love you even though we don't want you to have rights" variety seems just seems particularly repugnant to me. Word.