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Noah Michelson

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Chick-fil-A: This Is Not a First Amendment Issue

Posted: 08/02/2012 12:20 pm

If I hear one more person say that he or she is supporting Chick-fil-A because "This is a First Amendment issue," I'm going to jump out of one of the Huffington Post's fifth-floor windows and swan dive into oncoming traffic.

It seems I can't open Twitter or look at Facebook or read a website without hearing that refrain. It was the chant of many of the Chick-fil-A fans who were in attendance yesterday at "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day," which was dreamt up by former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee to support "freedom of speech" and President and COO Dan Cathy's right to believe that gay people do not deserve to get married (or -- if you want to dress it up -- "shouldn't be able to redefine traditional marriage"). But make no mistake -- this is not about the First Amendment.

I fully support Cathy's right to say whatever he wants (and, in fact, so does the ACLU). But just because someone can say something doesn't mean they should -- or that we should celebrate him or her for doing so, especially when what they're saying is, at its core, promoting a culture of hate against a group of people.

I have a hard time believing that there would be lines around the block at Burger King if its CEO gave an interview where he or she stated, "I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage... black and white people should not be allowed to get married,'" and had also donated millions of dollars to white supremacist organizations.

Similarly, if the head of Taco Bell came out and said, "I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about -- women should be the property of their husbands and anything otherwise is against traditional marriage," I don't think we'd see food courts packed with folks rabidly demanding 10-packs of tacos.

So why is it different when it comes to queer people? For some reason this country still thinks that it's OK to treat us like we are, at best, just not quite as worthy to have all the rights afforded straight or cis-gendered people or, at worst, just plain evil. Many of these statements are bolstered by religious arguments using the Bible as ammunition, but, as it's been pointed out time and again, the Bible demands we do or don't do a lot of things that we no longer do or don't do (like that we should own slaves and we shouldn't eat popcorn shrimp), and Jesus himself never uttered a single word about being queer (and if he wanted us all to be "traditionally married" so badly, you'd think the guy himself would have gotten married).

This is about a lot more than just marriage. It's about the millions of dollars that Chick-fil-A has donated to anti-gay and anti-trans groups who are working tirelessly to ensure that we never receive the same protections and rights that straight and cis-gendered people receive simply for being born non-queer (and who are in some instances endeavoring to "cure" queer people of their sexuality/gender identities).

When you buy food from Chick-fil-A, you're basically saying, "Here, take this money and see to it that queer people can not only not get married, but that they also can't adopt, can be fired simply for their sexuality and/or gender identity and continue to live in a society where they are regularly terrorized, mutilated, murdered and driven to suicide." Because that is what these groups do.

I, too, am in love with the First Amendment, and I want everyone to have the right to say whatever they want -- even if it's totally bonkers. But do I have to sit around and take it? Nope. And I sure as hell don't have to give those people my money to use against me. And neither do you.

So the next time someone says to you, "This is a First Amendment issue," or, "Chick-fil-A isn't anti-gay, it's just pro-traditional marriage," send them a link to one of the heartbreaking stories we feature on Gay Voices on a daily basis. Might I suggest the recent one about the lesbian in Nebraska who had the word "dyke" carved into her skin and her house set on fire? Or maybe they'd prefer to read the story of one of the LGBT teens who have killed themselves because they couldn't take the non-stop abuse inflicted upon them or just didn't see how they could function in a world that is so agonizingly anti-LGBT. Because that is exactly what Chick-fil-A is using its freedom of speech and its customers' dollars to support.

Also on The Huffington Post Gay Voices...

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  • Eating A Ham Sandwich

    Lunch time? Leviticus 11:7-8 reads: <blockquote>And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.</blockquote>

  • Tattoos

    Thinking of getting the Superman insignia on your bicep? Leviticus 19:28 states: <blockquote>Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.</blockquote>

  • Rounded Haircuts

    Off to the barber? Leviticus 19:27 states: <blockquote>Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.</blockquote>

  • Men With Injured Or Cut Off Private Parts Entering Houses Of God

    It's bad enough if you're a man who has had his private parts injured -- or heaven forbid cut off -- but to add insult to injury, Deuteronomy 23:1 states: <blockquote>He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.</blockquote>

  • Consulting Psychics

    Have you ever had your palm read? Or maybe you've consulted your horoscope for a little guidance? Leviticus 19:31 reads: <blockquote>Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.</blockquote> Photo by zopdeep on <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcpucho/318112432/sizes/m/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a>

  • Gossiping

    Heard some juicy news about Harold in the accounting department? Can't wait to tell your BFF that you just read that Snooki is pregnant? Leviticus 19:16 states: <blockquote>Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour; I am the LORD.</blockquote> Photo by JoeInSouthernCA on <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/joebehr/4744688383/sizes/z/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a>

  • Wives Helping Out Their Husbands In A Fight

    Gentlemen -- if you ever get in a fight and you get the feeling your lady might jump in and lend you a hand by squeezing your opponent's... ahem... "secrets," you'd better stop her. Deuteronomy 25:11-12 states: <blockquote>When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her.</blockquote>

  • Children Cursing Their Parents

    Kids these days -- you never know what's going to come out of their mouths! But hopefully your child doesn't curse you because Exodus 21:17 states: <blockquote>"And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death."</blockquote>

  • Getting Remarried After Getting Divorced

    When it comes to the Bible, this is a big no-no (unless your spouse was cheating on you): Mark 10:11-12 states: <blockquote>Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.</blockquote>

  • Working On The Sabbath

    In our fast-paced society, does anyone really work Monday to Friday from 9-5? Exodus 31:14-15 states: <blockquote>"Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.</blockquote>

  • Women Speaking In Houses Of God

    Headed to church, ladies? 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 states: <blockquote>Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.</blockquote>

  • Eating Shrimp, Lobster, And Other Assorted Seafood

    Craving a big bowl of popcorn shrimp? Leviticus 10-11 states: <blockquote>And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.</blockquote> Photo by jeffreyw on <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffreyww/5833838507/sizes/z/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a>

  • Losing Your Virginity Before You Get Married

    Today it might be harder to find a bride who is a virgin rather than the other way around. But Deuteronomy 22:20-21 states: <blockquote>But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you</blockquote>

Correction: An earlier version of this article mistakenly identified Huckabee as governor of Arizona. This has been corrected.

 
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