The not-so-small fast-food chain Chick-fil-A (nearly 1,500 locations in the U.S.) is getting into a bit of hot oil over its stance on gays. Change.org ran a post this week that digs into the chain’s charitable arm (the WinShape Foundation) and that group’s affiliation with so-called traditional Christian values—manifested here as opposing gay marriage and fighting against that famous, terrifying, somehow still-relevant “gay agenda.”
The chain’s links with anti-gay groups are both numerous and a bit hazy, but they seem to boil down to friendly relations with groups such as the hard-right Family Research Council and Focus on the Family, both noted for their anti-gay activism.
The whole story (as it has unraveled on Change.org, the GLBT activist site Good As You, and in a profoundly uninspiring “everyone [presumably including gays] is welcome to spend their money here” video statement made by Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy) is kind of messy. It seems to come down to this: Chick-fil-A is a company that is and always has been deeply fired up with a conservative Christian outlook.
That outlook seems to involve a number of charitable good works and not being open on Sundays, but also seems to involve working with groups that in turn work tirelessly to ensure that gays don’t get to enjoy equal rights as American citizens and human beings.
The whole thing, of course, is messy, and directly recalls the infamous Target Corporation “giving a pile of money to an anti-gay-rights candidate” debacle of 2010.
In both the Chick-fil-A and Target cases, the companies in question thought they were doing something good—supporting pro-Christian groups or backing a pro-business candidate for governor. But in both cases, the companies overlooked the fact that by supporting groups or people who (for example) oppose gay marriage, you pretty quickly get labeled “anti-gay.” And that, subsequently, “anti-gay” is a label that sticks and has some negative economic consequences.