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A chicken sandwich and a large order of politics, please

Tessa Cabrera

Ah! Fast food. It used to be so easy. Need a quick bite when you’re on the road or hungry for some cheap tasty food? No problem. Just run to the nearest fast food place you love, order the meal, and away you eat. But not so fast. Times have changed, and eating your favorite meal from your favorite restaurant just got trickier, and more political.

Not sure what I’m talking about? Let me be more specific. Eating a chicken sandwich at Chick-fil-A used to just mean you were hungry, and needed something satisfying to fill your stomach. However, Aug. 1 taking a bite of that same sandwich stood for whether or not you were for or against same-sex marriage.

How did this happen? Glad you asked. Chick-fil-A is a fast food company with more than 1,600 restaurant locations nationwide. They are run by a conservative faithful Christian named Dan Cathy. Their official corporate mission is to “glorify God” and to “enrich the lives of everyone we touch.” To those who have been paying attention to these kinds of things, this is not news. Chick-fil-A has been out and proud about its values since it was established way back in 1946. The company has always closed its doors on Sundays, so its employees could worship and enjoy their families

The springboard that caused Chick-fil-A to go from fowl to fiend or friend, depending whose side you take, was a recent radio interview by Cathy on the Ken Coleman radio program where he stated that the company is “very much supportive of the family.” Although Cathy claims the business is run on biblical principles, he states they don’t claim to be a Christian business in any way. “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business and we are married to our first wives,” said Cathy – a remark that lit the flame for many LGBT supporters not only locally, but nationwide

The national media got wind of these comments and before you knew it, Chick-fil-A was the talk of the nation for its religious views. When asked by the media, Cathy confirmed his statement meant “the biblical definition of the family unit,” – a statement which got the attention of those in the LGBT community as well as those who are LGBT supporters locally, and nationwide.

The bigger issue for supporters of same-sex marriage is Cathy’s financial support for pro-life groups and organizations that oppose same-sex marriage, using money earned by his business. LGBT leaders called for a boycott of Chick-fil-A for what it feels is a homophobic world view. In turn, vocal Christian conservatives like Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee announced their support for the company’s stance, and organized a Chick-fil-A appreciation day. The purpose of the day being for supporters of Chick-fil-A’s moral values to buy products from the franchise, and therefore show its support of so-called traditional values.

Thousands nationwide flocked to their nearest Chick-fil-A throughout the day last Wednesday, Aug. 1. Their intent was to either show their support for the company or in their own way boycott them. Both sides were present, but for very different reasons.

Tessa Cabrera, 26, a Hillcrest resident and an out lesbian with nothing more than the knowledge of Cathy’s remarks immediately took to her Facebook account to help add to Jackson Pearce’s idea of ordering only a large water at any Chick-fil-A restaurant Aug. 1. The intent being to have their own “appreciation day.” The idea was sparked by Proverbs 25:21 which states, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat, if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.” It was to put the company to test for their “biblical” beliefs and to make a stand for the right to be able to express love for another no matter of their sex.

“I thought this was a fantastic idea to bring this event to San Diego,” Cabrera stated, “I asked friends to join me in ordering a large water Aug. 1. So far, I have had nothing but support.”

“I take pride in spending my money and time at LGBT-friendly establishments and surrounding myself with people who support my lifestyle,” Cabrera said. “I’m going to do my part to help obtain equal rights for all.”

Cabrera, along with thousands of other supporters nationwide waited in line for up to 3 hours to boycott the fast food chain in the form of ordering nothing more than a large cup of water.

The Chick-fil-A in Oceanside on Wednesday had lines wrapped around the building filled with just about every walk of life: rich, poor, gay and straight with the parking lot intentionally blocked off by staff. Also present on the pavement of the parking lot were chalk drawings and words from both sides. Many messages of equality and love for one another were seen; however, many words of hate were written by some. Although both sides were present, all were friendly with one another and showed nothing but respect to those around them with opposite beliefs.

“I’ve been waiting in line for 2 hours,” Adam Jensen stated as he stood proudly next to his boyfriend of 6 months. “It’s important to me to do my best to make a difference, no matter how small my part is, the impact together will make an impact not only toward Chick-fil-A but to the public.”

Jensen, who says he was a regular at the Oceanside location until he got word of Cathy’s remarks, stated he had “no regrets” in ending his relationship with the fast food restaurant. Every dollar out of their pockets is a dollar better spent with those that respect and support the freedom to love one another no matter of sexual orientation.

“I look forward to the day when I can legally marry the love of my life (still looking),” Cabrera mentioned as she held onto her cup of water in front of the double doors of the restaurant. “It is only a matter of time until the term gay marriage is simply … marriage.”



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Posted by LGBT Weekly on Aug 10, 2012. Filed under Top Highlights. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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