Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Chick-fil-A same-sex marriage controversy

One story currently in the news as I type this is the recent scandal over Chick-fil-A’s President Dan Cathy’s remarks to a religious publication about his support for the “Biblical definition” of marriage. I haven't heard any opinions from any side that I agree with (and there are at least three sides to this). Everyone in this debacle seems hypocritical – that is, everyone except Dan Cathy.

I sharply disagree with his sentiment of being against gay marriage, but like the rest of us, he has the right of free speech. If I were a former customer (which I am not since I'm pescetarian) my reaction would be to simply not eat there anymore. That's one way the free market naturally self-corrects. If a business has distasteful views one can simply choose to not patronize them. One can peacefully picket or boycott as well, to spread the word.

It doesn't make sense to protest the fact that they express their opinion because we must respect the right of free speech. Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with protesting the opinion itself.

Protestors at a Memphis, Tennessee Chick-fil-A store
on Same Sex Kiss Day
But in this case the pro-gay-marriage crowd is doing the unexpected and eating in (and kissing)! There is even talk of making it the new gay hangout just to annoy the ownership. It's humorous, but not effective as a way to turn people against a business or even to annoy the ownership. Chick-fil-A will welcome the new clientele. Dan Cathy isn't against gay people eating chicken – only gay marriage. The people who work there could probably care less.

I'm a Libertarian and I don't even agree with the Libertarian stance here. The Libertarian leaning news commentators on Fox News who are pro-gay-marriage are also having "eat-ins", but their reason is to show their support for free speech. It is clear to me they didn't think this one through. Again, they are negating the way the free-market would normally self-correct.

There is nothing wrong with a business or anyone expressing controversial views, and if it bothers an individual they can simply stop patronizing the company – not give them more business!

Just because one protests a business, or stops eating there, doesn't mean one is against free speech. The idea is that we picket the opinion itself so that the situation self-corrects. Libertarians surely wouldn't give their business to a KKK-run restaurant to support free speech. But that is basically what they are doing here, for an anti-gay-marriage-run restaurant. How embarrassing.

"Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day" held August 1, 2012
in Port Charlotte, Florida.
Religious conservative commentators are also eating in to show their support for the actual sentiment of Dan Cathy's statements against gay marriage. So really, Chick-fil-A wins all around.

What I see is on-the-surface emotional "thinking" rather than logic. The pro-gay community says, "Wouldn't it be funny if gay couples all ate at Chick-fil-A? That'll show 'em!", and the Libertarians say, "Let's eat there to support free speech even though we sharply disagree with their actual speech! That'll show 'em… uh… somebody." (Come on, guys.) And so they're all sitting there eating together, right alongside the traditional marriage crowd, generating huge profits for Chick-fil-A instead of correcting the situation by causing them to lose money.

Ironically, the only reaction that makes logical sense here, although I disagree with their views, is that of the religious anti-gay-marriage folks who are simply supporting their cause by supporting Chick-fil-A.

It's enough to make my head spin.