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SOAPBOX: BIRDS OF A FEATHER

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Chick-Fil-A hates the gays, as the protest slogan should go. That’s what we’ve been hearing from mayor Menino, the other Boston papers, and many of the Boston people as a whole in response to the chicken-slinging restaurant wanting to open a location in our gay friendly town. They’re not wrong: Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy has openly decried gay people, gay marriage, and gay rights. The company has given millions to the Marriage & Family Foundation, the Winshape Foundation, and other right-wing organizations with titles involving the word “family.” In addition to their much-hyped bigotry, they print Bible verses on their cups and close on Sundays to be in accordance in with Lord.

So it’s fair that such a company should not open here in Boston; no one wants a company that shamelessly derides people we’ve all come to accept.

Or rather, another such company: if a Chick-Fil-A does open, it will be far from being the only one in town:

Salvation Army, Boy Scouts USA, Exxon Mobile, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, the entire Urban Outfitters/Anthropologie/Free People conglomerate, and several others all have open doors and cash registers in Boston, and all of them give money and support to anti-gay organizations and politicians.

These companies may not have owners or presidents as outspoken as Chick-Fil-A’s Dan Cathy, so they instead put their money where their mouths are. Unlike Chick-Fil-A, these companies have been around for decades, maybe long enough to become part of some kind of traditional consumerist location, so no one calls for them to close and take their business elsewhere.

As far as which companies are openly anti-gay, Walmart, the home of family values, or the Boy Scouts, a Christian organization barring anyone it believes is gay or an atheist, shouldn’t surprise anyone. People tend to look over the fact that the Salvation Army started as a literal Christian army with ranks, badges, and the whole deal (now they’ve become a bit more progressive, insisting that gays should only die a spiritual death from a separation with God, not literally, geez). Exxon Mobile is the largest American company to deny financial rights to people in domestic partnerships.

Both Target and Best Buy gave hundreds of thousands to support the campaign and PAC of Tom Emmer, a man who, among other things, wants to keep children away from gay couples.

Urban Outfitters owner Richard Hayne gave over 10 grand to failure of a presidential nominee Rick Santorum, and the store has hawked all manner of bad taste: Jewish Star T-shirts, the board game “Ghettopoloy,” a sexualized photo of 15 year-old models, as well as shirts proclaiming: “I support same sex marriage,” and “Mitt is the shit.”

Businesses should probably not be giving money to any political movement in the pursuit of a more perfect Union, but would we complain about Chick-Fil-A if it supported gay marriage? Obviously not.

It’s a question of whether not we agree with where the money’s going, not whether it fits our ideals. Furthermore, it’s only a problem when some new company comes into town trying to use Bostonian money to bankroll their hyper-conservative agenda, when it’s already been happening for years at some of Boston’s biggest businesses. Just imagine if Dunkin’ Donuts had a stance on the gay marriage.

Regardless, it’s the company’s and owner’s money, so they gets to use the cash for what they want, just like you get to use your cash for what you want.

It’s disturbing and disappointing that Chick-Fil-A and Urban Outfitters and the whole lot choose to support bigotry, but if you don’t want to, don’t give them your money.

Don’t give your money to any of the other companies listed above, and they’ll have less money to give to bigoted agencies, and that should work out for you and your peace of mind. There are cool T-shirts and sunglasses and “housewares” all over town for you to buy. While no chicken sandwich can come close to the taste of Chick-Fil-A, there are others.

It’s shitty that another company may open in Boston that bashes the gay rights movement.

But the mayor has no right to prohibit it: Dan Cathy has the same right to say his prejudiced bit as the Dig has to publish this one.

Ultimately, it’s the people of Boston who will decide. After all this, who’s going to be willing to be seen with a Chick-Fil-A bag in the city other than the most die-hard fast food enthusiasts, prideful anti-gay supporters misguidedly flocking to a beacon of intolerance, and people who just don’t care? If enough of Boston actively despises Chick-Fil-A, it’ll go out of business.

Maybe the same should be happening at all the other anti-gay companies in Boston, and not just this newcomer.

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