In recent months, people have been faced with a choice before going out to eat; instead of choosing a restaurant that suits their culinary preferences, many are choosing the restaurant that accommodates their political beliefs.
Chick-fil-A used to donate a portion of their funds to anti-gay causes but recently did a complete turnabout on their controversial opinion on gay marriage. President Dan Cathy has agreed to stop donating to anti-gay organizations and issued a company-wide internal mandate calling for the equal treatment of all employees and customers.
After the controversy sparked debate over which businesses support certain causes, the company backed down and executive vice president of marketing Steve Robinson stated that “At Chick-fil-A, we have a genuine commitment to hospitality for all of our guests. We have no agenda, policy or position against anyone.”
The pressure the company has received from liberal extremists has been overwhelming, to say the least. Non-stop protesting and a staged national “kiss-in” has resulted in the company re-thinking their endorsement of the biblical view of traditional marriage, and they have agreed to cease their donations.
The company reportedly outlined its shift in policy in a letter addressed to Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno, who in July declared that he would block them from opening a new location in his ward unless they adopted gay-friendly policies. The letter, signed by Chick-fil-A’s Senior Director of Real Estate reads, “The WinShape Foundations is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas.”
Cathy, as do all other private business owners, has the right to voice his opinion and invest in a political cause that he favors. Businesses should not be subject to protests just because their owners voice their opinions and make contributions without the approval of every single American.
Chick-fil-A is not the only company facing these challenges. Other private companies, such as Forever 21, have succumbed to outside pressures. People protested them when it was revealed that their garments were made using sweatshop labor in southern California. In Los Angeles, workers from six factories who sewed for Forever 21 called for an official boycott in Nov. 2001 until working conditions and payroll improved.
However, the lawsuit was dropped when Forever 21 paid the workers’ back wages. The matter was settled out of court and the company agreed to take steps to ensure that its garments were not made in sweatshops. The store later became the subject of the documentary Made in L.A. which focused on three Latina legal immigrant workers who fought for three years to win basic protections from the retailer. Furthermore, in 2004, under pressure from PETA, Forever 21 agreed to stop selling clothing made with animal fur.
The media has frequently influenced the outcome of businesses trying to support conservative causes. Consumers have a choice when purchasing or an establishment. The most effective civil form of protest would be to shop or dine elsewhere, and not obnoxiously protest as many people did to Chick-fil-A.