Wednesday night on my way home, I figured I’d pick up something to eat. Having lived in my area for a little more than three years, I’m sad to say that I’ve memorized most of the local fast-food joints. It just so happened I was near a Chick-Fil-A.
By now, I’m sure most of you have heard about the Chick-Fil-A controversy. I definitely had, and been discussing it with a friend earlier in the day. But somehow, when my hunger hit, I forget all about it. No lie. The subconscious mind is a powerful thing.
When I arrived at the restaurant, the double drive-through was packed, and inside the lines were longer than they usually are at 8 pm. Besides Chick-Fil-A’s wonderful Waffle Fries, a big reason for this crowd was the restaurant chain’s support of “Traditional Marriage.” On Friday, groups around the nation plan to protest the company’s stance against “Gay Marriage.”
As we have often seen in the past few years, indeed even in the past few months, the issue of marriage equality is one that brings out intense feelings on both sides. This week’s protests have revealed both the best and worst of the democratic values that America is supposed to stand for.
Chick-Fil-A President John Cathy has a right to believe that same-sex unions are wrong. A right ensured by the First-Amendment of the United States Constitution. Agree with him or not, he has that right. Unfortunately, he also has the right to throw as much of his money as he wants to politicians who, if elected to office will be indebted to him and his causes. That right was given to him by the Supreme Court’s Citizen United Decision.
Opponents of Cathy’s viewpoint also have a right to boycott his restaurant, and to encourage others to do so. The law allows it, and history shows that it often works. But what Progressives have to keep in mind while opposing what they believe to be social inequalities is that those with opposing view points have every right to express themselves under the laws of the land, no matter how wrong they may be. To take that right away from them would be hypocritical and adverse to the cause of freedom and justice for all.
So I stopped in at Chick-Fil-A that night, not to support “traditional marriage,” but because I had a taste for some heavily salted Waffle Fries and Fruit Punch. And while I may not go protesting Friday, I realize that those who do are well within their inalienable rights guaranteed to them by the Founding Fathers. That is the beauty of America.
Despite what either side would have you believe, there are good people on both sides of this debate. It’s one that is obviously not going away any time soon. For democracy’s sake, I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing.