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Jamison Doran Headshot

Chick-fil-A: Why the Outrage Now?

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I promised myself I wasn't going to get into this Chick-fil-A debate and had hoped it would all blow over. However, since it is still lingering, why not join the fray?

As someone very much for marriage equality, I was disappointed (but not surprised) when Chick-fil-A's CEO came out against same-sex marriage. I say "not surprised" because, really, who was surprised? Chick-fil-A was founded on Christian beliefs (they're closed on Sunday, for goodness' sake) and founded in the South (an area of the country lagging behind the rest when it comes to gay marriage). It also hasn't been a well-kept secret that they support causes, with monetary donations, that advance the agendas they believe in.

This all begs the question: Why the outrage now?

I don't understand how intelligent, well-informed, friends of mine, who have eaten at Chick-fil-A for years are now suddenly boycotting them. Their knowledge of the fast food's chains beliefs haven't changed. They've known they were eating at a religious conservative institution. Is it because it is suddenly the trendy thing to do? Or has the guilt finally caught up with them and they don't want to be seen entering and exiting a Chick-fil-A?

I suppose that is all well and good, and if you want to boycott Chick-fil-A that is certainly your prerogative. Though, how do you justify boycotting them, but not boycotting other companies?

Take Domino's Pizza. If you're boycotting Chick-fil-A, I hope you're boycotting them, too. Domino's founder financed a 2001 ballot initiative to remove sexual orientation from Ypsilanti, Michigan's nondiscrimination ordinance.

Or how about Urban Outfitters? A popular place for people my age (many of them liberally minded) has a president and CEO who has given money to Rick Santorum, a Congressman (and former presidential candidate) who is vocally and unequivocally against marriage equality.

You also can't get cheap goods at Walmart, who, while the largest retailer of books in the country, refuses to carry LGBT-related titles. They also, in 2008, left the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce after certain groups threatened a boycott.

I could go on and on (if you're curious about more companies who do not practice equality the Human Rights Campaign compiles them every year).

Bottom line, I'm glad people are passionate about this issue. But boycotting isn't the answer, even if it makes you feel good. If all you're doing is boycotting some chicken and not looking at the real fundamental problems in our society contributing to the lack of equality, then you're really not doing anything to help the problem.

Want to actually make a difference? Instead of staging "kiss-ins" or yelling at employees of Chick-fil-A (a note: Chick-fil-A is made up of employees and franchise owners who don't have to have the same views as their CEO; you're punishing them and not the head honchos with your boycotts) why don't you write your Congressperson? Or you could donate to a gay rights nonprofit or volunteer your time at one.

Chick-fil-A, even with its donations, is not the main problem. It is the culture of our citizens and our government, which would actively view a group of people as second-class because they are perceived as "different." That's what needs to change.

So enjoy your boycott of this relatively unhealthy fast food, which you probably shouldn't be eating anyways. While you're out there giving up your waffle fries for gay rights (a true sacrifice, some of you on Facebook would have me believe) I'm going to continue to give money to the HRC and write Congressional representatives. That's where real change to the laws of our country regarding marriage equality (whether fortunately or not) will happen. Not with where you buy your lemonade.