OpinionBoycotting Chick-fil-A won’t bring change

Last week, it was argued in this newspaper that eating at Chick-fil-A is incompatible with supporting LGBTQ rights.  I am personally very much in support of LGBTQ rights and the legalization of same-sex marriage.  The notion that two people who love each other are unable to enjoy the same rights as couples of a different sexual orientation is one that is both unfortunate and, in my view, demonstrably unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of...
guest columnistsApril 12, 201351 min

Last week, it was argued in this newspaper that eating at Chick-fil-A is incompatible with supporting LGBTQ rights.  I am personally very much in support of LGBTQ rights and the legalization of same-sex marriage.  The notion that two people who love each other are unable to enjoy the same rights as couples of a different sexual orientation is one that is both unfortunate and, in my view, demonstrably unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

At the same time, I very much enjoy eating Chick-fil-A’s chicken sandwiches and their legendary waffle fries.  Are these two things incompatible?  By eating at Chick-fil-A, am I not supporting my LGBTQ friends and relatives?  Am I actually anti-LGBTQ?  Let’s take a moment to dissect these ideas.

In 2011, Chick-fil-A had a total profit of over $4 billion in sales.  Of that profit, $3.6 million, or 0.09% was donated to what can be considered anti-gay organizations.  That same year, Chick-fil-A also donated millions of dollars to charitable causes, including children’s hospitals, foster homes across the country, and scholarships for their employees to attend college.

This raises the question: if by boycotting Chick-fil-A we are supporting LGBTQ rights, are we at the same time anti-children and anti-education?  Of course not.  I don’t believe that by buying a product from a company, I automatically subscribe to all the political beliefs of the owner of that company.  Rather, I am simply purchasing a product that I enjoy.  If Chick-fil-A itself were a hate group, this would be a different story.  However,  Chick-fil-A has repeatedly reaffirmed that the “culture and service tradition in [its] restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect ““ regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”

I believe that it is important that we separate companies’ practices and the products that they sell from their politics.  Instead of boycotting Chick fil-A, why not sit down with someone who disagrees with you on LGBTQ rights and initiate a respectful dialogue?  This seems like a much more effective way to advance the issue than worrying about where one half of one cent of your chicken sandwich might be going.

Sean Solis is a senior majoring in political science and classics.

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Guest columns should be arranged with managing editor Megan Julian (mjulian@trinity.edu) at least one week prior to publication.

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