An Open Letter from GLN's Bob Schwartz
GLN permalink 10-3-2012
Perhaps in his haste to end a free-speech controversy he started and distance himself from the Chick-fil-A issue, Alderman Joe Moreno and the Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA) declared victory, despite their failure to obtain a clear and unambiguous pro-gay commitment from top management at Chick-fil-A. Nevertheless, what they were told reassured them sufficiently to give the green light to the chicken sandwich vendor to open a second Chicago outlet on Elston Avenue.
Now they're not so sure.
They apparently thought they had corporate change when Chick-fil-A claimed it pursues no "political agendas," but The Advocate reported that on the very day that Mr. Moreno and TCRA were declaring victory, Chick-fil-A COO Dan Cathy attended a charity event of his firm, saying the event's donations would be going to the "Marriage and Family Foundation," which happens to be located at the same Atlanta address as his company's corporate headquarters and is clearly a front for the firm's attack on same-sex marriage.
This was followed by both Chick-fil-A and right-wing talk show host Mike Huckabee, who had called for support of Chick-fil-A in the face of nationwide protests this summer against its anti-gay policies, issuing statements saying that, despite Mr. Moreno's and Civil Right's Agenda's claims to the contrary, essentially nothing had changed. The corporation still stood for "marriage," which of course means exclusively heterosexual marriage.
Last summer, Gay Liberation Network picketed the lone Chicago Chick-fil-A along with the Loyola Law School's National Lawyers Guild chapter, and called for a boycott of the Atlanta-based company. We demanded of Chick-fil-A an explicit policy of non-discrimination against women (including lesbians) and gays, bisexuals, and transgender people, both in hiring and promotions, and that it publicly commit to stopping contributions to groups that oppose our equal civil rights, as well as to coercive outfits like Exodus International that promote "pray away the gay."
Shock of all shocks-- a firm lies about LGBT people, then lies about changing its ways, and then reassures bigots it's still on their side. Meanwhile, politicians and others acting on behalf of our community prematurely rush to declare victories before facts on the ground warrant them.
Our community is ill-served by this kind of thing.
So the boycott of Chick-fil-A continues. If the Elston Avenue store opens, we will be picketing there on opening day to spread the boycott message to all who support equal rights.
We hope Alderman Joe Moreno and TCRA will join us.
Gay Liberation Network