I have to admit I have a lot of mixed feelings about the backlash against Chick-Fil-A for its head’s recent public commitment to (and financial support of) anti-gay causes. First, his statements should surprise no one. Chick-Fil-A has always been a company that has worn its faith on its sleeve; for the most part this has made it an exemplary company, doing many wonderful things for its employees and making a very positive contribution to communities where it does business. Even if I supported boycots as a means of political persuasion — which I don’t; I don’t want to live in a world where my patronage of stores depends on me agreeing with them — it seems to me that for the most part Chick-Fil-A is definitely one of the good guys.
At the same time, I think it’s admirable that the city of Boston and the various groups who have broken ties with the company this week, because gay rights issues are not really political, not in the same way that taxation laws and environmental policies are political. By putting money towards anti-gay causes, Chick-Fil-A is not promoting strong Christian marriages (there are other ways they could do that), nor is it putting forward the face of Christ (as it does in so many other of their business practices). What it’s doing is actively supporting discriminatory laws. It’s actively promoting a situation where people who have shared their lives together for over a decade have no legal relationship as far as hospitals are concerned, where couples face undue complications in filing their taxes or buying property, where people are barred from accessing needed community supports. Chick-Fil-A’s position is negative: it’s not promoting Christian beliefs; it is actively trying to block a defined group of people from being full participants in American society. And, that just makes me very very uncomfortable.
And I can understand why people would not want to do business with them.