Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ups and Downs

I have been delighted by the responses to Chick-Fil-A COO Dan Cathy and his proud and publicly-stated homophobia and bigotry. In case you missed it somehow, Cathy came out "guilty as charged" when asked about his company's position on marriage equality. Many people, myself included, were already pretty annoyed with Chick-Fil-A because of the millions of dollars they have donated over the years to anti-gay groups. But actually coming out publicly and stating, with no room for equivocation, that you oppose marriage equality and support the Biblical definition of family? There's no more room for ambiguity and no getting around it: supporting Chick-Fil-A means supporting an anti-gay, anti-equality company that funnels a portion of its profits into hate groups.

And you know what? People are pissed. People with money and influence. The Jim Henson Company, who was producing kid's meal toys for Chick-Fil-A, completely severed their ties with the company and donated the payments they had already received to GLAAD. The mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino, is refusing Chick-Fil-A's requests for a new restaurant site in no uncertain terms. Chicago Alderman Moreno is blocking similar plans in his district. The message is clear: we don't want to be associated with your hate.

Yes, Cathy has every right to his opinion and he can run his private company however he chooses (as long as he isn't doing anything illegal). And the rest of us have the right to express our outrage and disagreement. The photoshopped images making the rounds are fabulous. One of the coolest musicians of all time, Adam WarRock, released a free track responding to Cathy's remarks. It rocks. Internet chef Hilah Johnson re-created the Chick-Fil-A recipe for you, hate free!

Apart from some rather self-serving (and primarily Christian) reports painting Chick-Fil-A as the beleaguered victim being unfairly targeted because of their strong religious ethics, public opinion is coming out strongly against Cathy because of his remarks. This signifies something very important to me, because nothing about Chick-Fil-A or their policies has changed. They've been donating to hate groups for years. What they did wrong was to admit to their bigotry out loud. Our society is finally getting to the point where homophobia and hate is embarrassing and shameful. Voicing those opinions, which used to be fairly ubiquitous and normal, is now something only your crazy uncle does when he's had too much to drink at the family reunion. And Cathy? You are that crazy uncle. You should be ashamed. Now go watch the football game or something and leave the rest of us alone.

Of course, my elation with the public outcry against Chick-Fil-A was tempered a bit by Mitt Romney making an ass of himself. Again, I mean. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, passed away recently. Romney commented publicly on the loss, calling Ride a 'hero' and an 'inspiration'. What Romney probably didn't realize at the time was that Sally Ride was gay, and thanks to policies like DOMA that dear Mittens proudly supports, her partner of 27 years will receive no federal benefits.

This has only served to highlight the inequality rampant in our government. At the federal level alone there are over a thousand rights and protections that are only granted to 'married' couples. Sates that don't recognize any form of same-sex union are even worse. A Twitter campaign emphasizing the irony in Romney's willingness to honor Sally Ride while simultaneously denying her the right to marry her partner is in full swing, but it' know...a Twitter campaign. Sometimes I just feel completely powerless to make a difference or get through to people. I mean...people are actually voting for this guy while he keeps shitting all over women, gays and the Establishment Clause.

It's enough to give me whiplash. Can we please have more stories like the Muppets sticking it to bigots and less examples of Mittens being an asshole? kthxbai

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