Water Tower Chick-fil-A caught in gay marriage controversy
Posted by loyolastudentdispatch on July 27, 2012
Finding herself at the center of a teeming gay marriage controversy, the operator of Chicago’s lone Chick-fil-A spoke out Thursday to highlight the restaurant’s positive contributions to the city.
Lauren Silich, owner/operator of the Water Tower Chick-fil-A, invited Mayor Rahm Emanuel to visit the restaurant, while saying the outlet does not discriminate against its customers.
“We are not a corporation – we are real people and taxpayers as each Chick-fil-A franchise is independently owned and operated. We are Chicagoans who are dedicated to serving our community,” Silich said. “We hold fundraisers for hospitals, schools, fallen police, and we donate to a wide variety of causes, including everything from churches to gay and lesbian organizations.”
The city’s sole Chick-fil-A, located in space leased at Loyola University Chicago’s Water Tower Campus, has recently come under scrutiny because of anti-gay marriage comments made by company President, Dan Cathy. In an interview with Baptist Press, Cathy was quoted as saying the company was “guilty as charged” on their position on the support of the “traditional family.”
“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit,” Cathy went on to say to Baptist Press. “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”
Chick-fil-A has been the target of criticism recently due to that interview and the company’s policy to donate money to certain groups which are alleged to have an “anti-gay” agenda.
One high profile incident over the past several days was when Boston Mayor Thomas Menino announced that he would make an effort to block Chick-fil-A from building a restaurant in the city. Here in Chicago, Alderman Joe Moreno of the First Ward announced that he would deny Chick-fil-A’s permit to open a second restaurant in his ward.
Chick-fil-A’s Water Tower location, the sole Chick-fil-A in the city, is a popular spot for many Loyolans due to its proximity to the downtown campus. Students have paid close attention to this controversy and have mixed feelings about the popular restaurant.
Nick Amatangelo, 20, a junior communication studies and history major at Loyola disagrees with the company’s stance, but doesn’t believe it should be the source of major controversy.
“I personally feel that their stance is flawed and marriage should be open to all people,” Amatangelo sad. “However, Chick-fil-A is a privately owned and operated corporation and therefore has every right to make and have such an opinion if they believe it is right.”
Amatangelo isn’t going to let this controversy stop him from visiting Chick-fil-A.
“It will not impact my decision to eat at the company’s restaurants in the future,” said Amatangelo before adding, “I believe that the media has exaggerated how big the issue is.”
Megan Carabelli, 20, a junior journalism major with minors in political science and theatre, has been disappointed in the Chick-fil-A president’s recent comments.
“I don’t agree with Chick-fil-A’s strong opinions against gay marriage,” she said. “I don’t want to support a company that goes against what I believe in. But to be honest, If they hadn’t publicized it, I would probably still be eating here.”
When asked about the current debate Loyola junior journalism major Rianne Coale, 20, focused on the apparent double standard being applied to Chick-fil-A.
“Well then I suppose you need to think about where every store or restaurant is donating money,” she said. “It can’t be a crime to donate money to organizations that support traditional family roles.”
Coale was surprised at the recent flare up in the debate because Chick-fil-A’s religious affiliation has never been a mystery.
“It is readily known that Chick-fil-A is a Christian company by the fact that they are closed on Sundays. With that said, their religious affiliation has had no impact on whether or not I enjoy to eat their food,” Coale said. “I find it absurd that this has been taken to the level it has. It will in no way impact my decision to eat there in the future.”
Sean Vera, 21, a 2012 graduate from Loyola with a degree in political science, has given a lot of thought to the discussion and sees at as a multifaceted debate.
“This is a complicated issue because while their company donates money to anti-gay rights groups, there is no indication that they are discriminating against employees or customers,” he said. “Many companies that people use every day are involved in things that probably go against the personal values of many people. Just look at accusations that get thrown at companies like Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Bank of America, McDonalds, et cetera. It’s almost impossible to only do business with companies that support your values, so it’s really just a matter of which ones you choose to emphasize or prioritize.”
For Vera, Chick-fil-A’s views on how marriage should be defined is something that he emphasizes.
“I do not eat at Chick-fil-A because of their stance on gay rights, and I certainly would encourage other people to consider what the company does before giving them money, but I don’t think they should be banished or forced to close down,” he said. “Like any other company, if you don’t like what they do or how they operate, don’t spend your money with them. Vote with your wallet. If they recognize that their stance is bad for business, they’ll either be forced to change or they will disappear on their own.”