The other day a coworker asked me for my lunch order. At that point my stomach was already beating me to death, and I was ready to trade my firstborn child for a ham sandwich. I asked him where we were ordering from, and he said, "Chick-fil-A. Mmmmm!"
I was torn. I easily could have given him an order for one (or maybe two) of their scrumptious chicken sandwiches, and I wouldn't have had to trade my firstborn. Or I could have politely declined, knowing full well that ignorance is what makes people intolerant and uninformed. I also felt torn because Chick-fil-A has some of the nicest fast-food employees I've ever encountered, and, coming from a customer-service background, that means a lot to me.
Then there was this: Why do I care so strongly about it anyway? It's so last year's anti-equality issue, right?
As you can see, my mind was basically wrestling its own thoughts. I sometimes think I'm a functional schizophrenic.
All the while my stomach was just like: "Ugh! Feed me!"
Though I applaud those who do, I'm not the type to march in pride parades or stand on a soapbox and yell through a speaker for gay rights. You won't see me physically standing outside any establishment with picket signs, and I don't think it's appropriate to use a drive-through at restaurants like Chick-fil-A to order water and say something like, "Because you won't get any of my money!" That's immature and, frankly, a waste of everyone's time.
As I sat in my chair, though, and watched as my coworker's face grew increasingly aggravated as I made him wait for a "yes" or "no," I realized that I was faced with a large decision to make, and it was about much more than whether I wanted chicken for lunch. I felt like I had a choice to make between right and wrong,B between promoting ignorance for my own selfish desire or standing firm for equality. I was most shocked because I hardly ever feel this way, especially when it comes to something as simple as lunch.
After what seemed like hours, I finally replied, "Damn, they are good -- food and service alike -- but they won't get a penny from me."
He replied, "Why? Oh, yeah, 'cause the gay thing. Doesn't that make you kind of hypocritical, Matt?"
"How so?" He intrigued me at this point.
"They're just using their right to free speech. Shouldn't that be OK?"
"And I applaud them for that. Everyone has the right to speak freely. I guess I'm using that same right by not giving them my money. They don't support the family I hope to one day have, and that's a big deal to me."
Who the hell was this person talking? It certainly didn't feel like something I'd ever say, and from the look on my coworker's face, he thought the same thing. He just looked at me and said, "Cool, man. I like that you're standing up for something you believe in."
Yeah, I really liked it too. The more I think about it, why are we ever giving our money to companies and/or organizations that don't support equality? My ex once worked for Chick-fil-A, and his manager actually told him that he couldn't advance in the company if he came out as openly gay. And here I was, about to spend my hard-earned money at such an establishment? When you really think about it, it seems ludicrous to do such a thing. If you need a list of prominent anti-equality companies, check this out. You'll definitely think twice about where you're spending your almighty dollar.
Whether you believe that he should have voiced his opinion on the matter at all, Chick-fil-A's president and COO Dan Cathy decided to stand against marriage equality and the real American family and have his company donate money to anti-gay political organizations. He made Chick-fil-A a member of the "First Wives Club," and it's one that Bette Midler might feel ashamed to join. So because Chick-fil-A and other companies like it have decided to stand against who I am as a person and what I deserve in this life (a family with my future husband), I simply stand firm in my choice to eliminate spending at such places, regardless of how friendly their employees or how delicious their food may be.
I'm sure that after reading this post, some people will crave one of those delicious chicken sandwiches. I'm actually craving one right now too! Damn you, Chick-fil-A. But guess what? You may still choose to "eat mor chikin," but the chicken certainly won't be getting in my pants anytime soon. And by my pants, I mean my wallet.
Follow Matthew Lewis on Twitter: www.twitter.com/singlegayprobs