Take a look at an event scheduled for February 2011, co-sponsored by Chick-fil-A and the Pennsylvania Family Institute, the leading anti-gay group in the Keystone State and a group that has worked hard to try and pass a constitutional amendment in Pennsylvania banning same-sex marriage.
The February event co-sponsored by Chick-fil-A is called "The Art of Marriage," and it's intended to be a launching point for Pennsylvania to return to "the biblical definition of marriage." Given the work of the Pennsylvania Family Institute, it's hard not to see where this event is going to go -- straight for the jugular of anyone who supports marriage equality for same-sex couples.
The Pennsylvania Family Institute has been a leading opponent of marriage equality, and has condemned the expansion of civil rights for same-sex couples. Speaking to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the group's president, Michael Geer, said that gay marriage is not moral, and should be put up for a vote rather than decided by courts or legislatures.
"The only way that we can get the people to decide this issue is through the ballot box," Geer said. "Marriage as defined as between a man and a woman has proven to be the best for the health, education and welfare of children."
And that's a mild statement coming from Geer. As more and more states have moved to legalize same-sex marriage, Geer has stated that unless Pennsylvania adopts a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, it could be forced to accept same-sex couples as equals.
"Newspapers across the commonwealth editorialized -- and many legislators said -- we don't need an amendment, we already have a law [banning gay marriage]. This [ruling] makes clear that the law is insufficient," Geer said, after California's Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality in 2008. (That ruling was eventually overturned by the passage of Proposition 8.)
The Pennsylvania Family Institute has blasted gay marriage in a number of other ways, too. They've argued that calling committed same-sex couples married is like calling the tail of a dog a leg. They've said that when Judge Vaughn Walker ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional, that human civilization took a direct hit. They've suggested that discriminating against same-sex couples is perfectly acceptable, because same-sex couples weren't biologically meant to be together. And they've said that same-sex marriage threatens children, hurts families, and punishes all of society by caving in to components of a radical sexual revolution.
And if you're spending money on Chick-fil-A sandwiches, you're helping the Pennsylvania Family Institute deliver this message.
It's not the first time Chick-fil-A has been connected to some anti-gay actors. In February 2009, an Auburn student documented that Chick-fil-A had given money to Focus on the Family, the anti-gay Colorado group founded by the Rev. James Dobson. Focus on the Family, for their part, has a lengthy record of anti-gay extremism, from calling same-sex couples a danger to the planet, to suggesting that legalizing same-sex marriage would be a worse disaster than Pearl Harbor.
Fool me once, Chick-fil-A, shame on you. But fool me twice? Shame on me. That's why it's time to get Chick-fil-A to respond, and figure out whether they're interested in being a fast food restaurant, or they're interesting in being a business that partners and caters to some radical anti-gay elements in our country. Send the restaurant chain a message asking them why they're sponsoring an event in Pennsylvania with a leading anti-gay organization. And let the restaurant know that if they value all of their customers, including their LGBT customers and straight allies, they'll pull their official sponsorship from this event and stop making chicken sandwiches that support extremely homophobic agendas.
petition text -
Dear Mr. Robinson and Ms. Green,
I recently became aware that Chick-fil-A is sponsoring a February 2011 event with the Pennsylvania Family Institute on "the biblical definition of marriage." The Pennsylvania Family Institute has a lengthy track record of rhetoric that is very offensive to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people, and in recent years has made fighting same-sex marriage a cornerstone of their work. Why would Chick-fil-A decide to partner with an organization promoting such values?
Indeed, the Pennsylvania Family Institute has called gay marriage a threat to civilization, suggested that same-sex couples harm children, and believes that same-sex marriage should be banned not only in Pennsylvania, but also in the U.S. Constitution. Does Chick-fil-A agree with this? And if not, why would the company choose to cosponsor an event with the Pennsylvania Family Institute on the subject of marriage?
I am very concerned about Chick-fil-A's sponsorship of this event, and will be telling friends and family about the role of the company in promoting the Pennsylvania Family Institute's anti-gay message. I urge you to pull your sponsorship from this event, and not join forces with an organization with such a lengthy track record against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans.
Thank you for your time.
[Your name here]