Chicken, Sex, and Freedom

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 27 2012 4:57 PM

Chicken, Sex, and Freedom

I've avoided writing much about the Chick-fil-A controversy. Why? It's so stupid that I worry further analysis will split the seams of our reality and cast us into a negative zone ruled by warlords who know neither love nor mercy. Besides, Jim Antle already summed up the problems with local governments' anti-chicken rabble-rousing.

[A] big part of same-sex marriage’s appeal is tolerance, the idea that peaceful adults should live and let live. The Chick-fil-A flap makes it seem to be driven by coercion more than individual freedom. Also, there is no better way to get those young evangelicals reenlisted in the culture wars than to make same-sex marriage a threat to their religious liberty. What some people are saying is that if you believe in traditional interpretations of the Bible concerning marriage, you cannot open a business.

Right after Antle wrote this, the embattled and imploding mayor of Washington, D.C., Vincent Gray, joined the League of Pandering Municipal Leaders. "Given my long standing strong support for LGBT rights and marriage equality," he tweeted (of course!), "I would not support #hatechicken."

What makes it "hate chicken," though? No Chick-fil-A store has been accused of denying service to gays, or married gays, or breeders with multiple divorces behind them. The avowedly conservative, Christian company has given money to a foundation that funds "traditional marriage" campaigns. Its owners have raged against legal gay marriage, when asked. Does Vincent Gray know how many local D.C. businesses have owners with the same opinions? How many have donated to campaigns to ban gay marriage, or to candidates who oppose it -- like Marion Barry? Of course he doesn't.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 



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