Chick-fil-A operator tackles gay marriage flap at Loyola
Posted by ellenschaft on November 1, 2012
Some 60 Loyola students and professors gathered in Corboy Law Center’s Kasbeer Hall for the event also supported by Loyola’s USGA, OUTLaw, and Advocate groups.
The Atlanta-based fast food chain has been under fire since July of this year when Chick-fil-A President and COO, Dan Cathy, made public statements in opposition to same-sex marriage. It also was widely publicized that Chick-fil-A has donated an estimated $5 million to groups opposing same-sex marriage.
Chicago has been a lightning rod for the controversy. The Chick-Fil-A at Chicago and Wabash avenues near Loyola’s Water Tower Campus remains the chain’s only outlet in the city. Meanwhile, Chicago 1st Ward Ald. Proco ”Joe” Moreno has opposed a second Chick-Fil-A in his North Side ward because of the chain’s stance on gay marriage.
Panel member Padraig McCoid offered his opinion on the controversy.
“The issue is not that Dan Cathy is against marriage inequality. The reason Chick-fil-A has received so much heat from gay-rights activists is precisely because of the kind of groups receiving money from Chick-fil-A. These are awful groups,” McCoid said. “[Leaders at the] Family Research Council have said that gays should be exported from the country.”
Outraged Loyola students have boycotted the restaurant, but local owner/operator, Lauren Silich asked students to examine the ways other companies spend money.
“I would challenge you as consumers that if you’re not going to come to Chick-fil-A because of things that you hear or research that you do, I challenge you to put every other dollar that you spend through the exact same filter,” Silich said.
The issue of social justice was on many students’ minds throughout the event.
One such student, Alejandro Monarrez, 21, a senior criminal justice major, realized being a smart consumer is a daunting task.
“My concern is how do we take a comprehensive view to social justice in a way that we don’t just forget about other social justice issues,” Monarrez said.
“For instance, the…unfair labor laws Apple is in the dilemma with now…but we all have our iPhones and MacBooks and we’re unwilling to let them go,”he said. “How do we avoid just picking and choosing companies to boycott? How can we avoid being picky?”
Melissa Brown, an ethics and social justice professor at Loyola, offered her opinion on why some students are now so hesitant to accept Chick-fil-A as a part of the Loyola Water Tower Campus community.
“I think when Dan Cathy made his statements, a lot of people realize how a statement like that works, how it can galvanize hate. We are worried about the Chick-fil-A sign and what it now means, and how it functions as a symbol. It’s more than how a local franchise can function in a community,” Brown said.
After the event, Water Tower Campus program director, Dana Bozeman, thought the panel had a great turnout.
“Tonight’s event was complicated, but it was supposed to be. I think the real challenge for Lauren [Silich] is whether or not she can restore harm she didn’t commit in our community,” Bozeman said.