The first Chick-fil-A restaurant in the region officially opened its doors in Greece, New York on April 12, according to the Democrat & Chronicle. While many people are excited about the popular fast food chain’s arrival, they should also remember the company’s discrimination toward LGBTQ+ individuals and condemn the restaurant for its behavior.
In 2012, the president of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, claimed that the organization is “supportive of the family—the biblical definition of the family unit,” in an interview with The Baptist Press.
Additionally, Cathy gave “$2 million to seven anti-gay groups in 2010,” according to Business Insider. These donations included “$1,000 to Exodus, a group that...claimed it can ‘cure’ people of homosexuality,” according to the same article.
This controversy sparked nationwide protests, including National Same-Sex Kiss Day and condemnations of the chain by multiple government officials, according to CNN. While these protests were certainly a step in the right direction for LGBTQ+ rights activism at the time, the fact that this controversy was quickly forgotten for the sake of fried chicken should be denounced.
These comments and donations served as a direct attack on the lives of millions of individuals. Though some might think that the fight for LGBTQ+ rights has ended, Vice President Mike Pence thinks gay couples were the harbingers of a “societal collapse,” according to Time. Given the power Pence holds, it’s more important than ever to support members of the LGBTQ+ community and reject businesses who discriminate against them.
Though Chick-fil-A has managed to shed some of its controversial image over the years, the Trump administration may open the door for overt demonstrations of discrimination as Chick-fil-A expands into western New York.
Although many criticized Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay stance, the company also received resounding support from some people.
In 2012, Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee advocated for a “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” to “simply affirm appreciation for a company run by Christian principles” soon after the controversy broke, as reported by CNN.
Despite the freedom of religion every American is entitled to, the discrimination—especially toward historically marginalized communities—is wrong.
Alan Taylor, the franchise owner of the Greece, NY location, somewhat distanced himself from Chick-fil-A’s discriminatory past, according to the Democrat & Chronicle.
“All are welcome at Chick-fil-A Greece and we can’t wait to start serving this community, [and treat] everyone that comes through those doors with honor, dignity and respect,” Taylor said to the Democrat & Chronicle.
Though this is a nice expression of inclusivity at a local location, Chick-fil-A has still donated to anti-LGBTQ+ groups in the years since the 2012 controversy.
The company has given more than a million dollars to discriminatory groups, according to ThinkProgress. These beneficiaries include the Paul Anderson Youth Home, which “promote[s] harmful ‘ex-gay’ therapy,” and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which requires members to adhere to a strict “‘sexual purity’ policy and prohibits ‘homosexual acts,’ even for married couples,” according to ThinkProgress.
Chick-fil-A has clearly failed to change. Though the initial controversy in 2012 has all but been forgotten, it is important to remember the discrimination that took, and is still taking place against LGBTQ+ Americans. Good food means nothing if it comes at the price of people’s safety and rights.