Our family is participating in the boycott against Chic-Fil-A, not that it makes much of a difference because I never eat there anyhow. The food (and i use that term lightly) is unhealthy and it doesn’t taste that great. I make WAY better fried chicken, and mine has only 4 ingredients, including the chicken and the oil I fry it in. I think the last time I went there was before I got pregnant with Elijah, and I only went because my coworkers insisted upon going there, which they probably only wanted to do because that particular Chick-Fil-A gave a 50% discount to uniformed service members (which we all were). So yeah, it’s not like they are really losing out on any profits they had before when I decided to participate in the boycott. But in any case, I might have gone there at some point before hand, in a similar situation to the last time I went, but now I won’t. Take that, Chick-Fil-A!
You see, I support marriage equality. I support every kind of equality for the LGBTQ community, and that is why I cannot support Chick-Fil-A. Yes, I understand they have a right to their own opinion about these matters, and they have a right to donate their profits where ever the hell they want, but I do not have to like it, respect it, and I certainly do not have to contribute MY MONEY to it.
When I spend my money, I like to think about where it ultimately ends up and what things it’s doing along the way. It is my right and I believe my responsibility to do so. This is why I try to buy local, fair trade, organic. It’s part of why I don’t buy drugs, it’s why I don’t shop at Walmart, and why I try to eat less meat. I want my money to do more than purchase goods and services, I want it to support things I believe in and help to create a better world, and it can. My money can strengthen my local economy (so more money comes back to me in the end), build up my local community making it safer, healthier, and happier, and support causes that I believe are making a positive difference in this world. Or, my money can support exploitation of children in the developing world, some fat cat, elitist, banker’s new yacht, or Uganda’s “Death Penalty for Gays” policy. If I spend money at Chick-Fil-A, I would be supporting that last one, because after I give money to Chick-Fil-A, they take that money and donate it to The Family Research Council, who then lobbies congress to not censure Uganda for their kill the gays policy (amongst a lot of other anti gay policies that I don’t support either).
When I choose not to spend money at Chick-Fil-A, it’s not because I have a problem with free speech, it’s because I don’t want my money to be contributing to The Family Research Council. In this case, I’m actually really grateful for free speech being used, because had it not been used, I might have unknowingly contributed to a bigoted lobbying organization that works to make sure that people will be killed for their sexual orientation in other parts of the world. Yay free speech, for helping spend my money in ways I see morally fit! My choice has nothing to do with whether or not I support free speech, it has everything to do with whether or not I support LGBTQ rights.
At the same time, when a person chooses to go stand in line for an hour to go eat fried chicken on Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day, they can try all they want to try and make it about free speech, but I’m not buying it. You don’t see these same people lining up outside of porn shops waving flags and saying “I’m just here to support free speech!” No. The fact of the matter is that even if you believe in the entire concept of free speech, you only show up to support the free speech you agree with. There’s nothing wrong with it. I do the same thing. I support free speech, but I do not agree with or respect everything that comes out of everyone’s mouth, even if I recognize their right to say it. And part of my right to free speech includes my right to disagree, argue against, and choose not to support, anyone else’s opinions that they have every right to express. I have every right to express my opinions too. But unlike the people lined up outside of Chick-Fil-As all over the country last week, I don’t try to pretend my political statements are about anything other than what they are. I do not believe for an instant that anyone was lined up outside a Chick-Fil-A that day for any reason other than to express their belief that LGBTQ people are second class citizens that deserve fewer human rights than them.
Do they have the right to express that belief (almost) however they want? Sure they do. The KKK has the right to express their belief that whites are a superior race. The porn industry has the right to produce videos of 18 year olds getting gang banged by a bunch of ugly dudes who don’t use condoms and maybe haven’t been tested for STIs. That’s all free speech, according to the law. And no one has to respect or accept any of it as a jolly good thing. I certainly don’t see anybody openly embracing all of it as wonderful. We all only show up to support the free speech we agree with, the free speech that we find morally acceptable, so don’t try to pretend you’re not there because you hate gay people. If you’re not proud enough of your stance to say it publicly, you probably should evaluate why you support it.
Now, all of this being said, this Tuesday, August 7, is Starbucks appreciation Day. Starbucks is one of many companies who is on record as supporting marriage equality, so as a direct response to Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day, Equally Wed has organized Starbucks Appreciation Day. They chose Starbucks over some of the other companies because Starbucks is so easily accessible and relatively inexpensive (as opposed to say Microsoft, who is also on record as supporting marriage equality) so as many people as possible can participate. Here is a link to more information about the event. There is also a Facebook page where you can RSVP yes and invite others. Please spread the word and come out in support of LGBTQ rights this Tuesday, because that’s what this is really about (otherwise I would prefer to support a locally owned, independent coffee shop). Or if you really are a person who supports all free speech all the time whether or not you actually agree with it, please come support Starbucks’ right to say they support equal rights for gay people. You can wash down your fried CAFO product from Chick-Fil-A with some liquid diabetes from Starbucks, all in unconditional support of free speech.