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Prepping for Sept. 20 Chick-Fil-A Protest

Gay rights demonstrators cite comments by president of chicken restaurant company; Chick-fil-A due to open Sept. 20 on North Main Street.

Gay rights and civil rights activists are making plans for a peaceful protest Thursday, Sept. 20, in Walnut Creek at the planned opening of a Chick-fil-A restaurant on North Main Street.

At issue are statements by the president of Chick-fil-A about support for the traditional definition of marriage.

"The last line of our 'Pledge of Allegiance' closes with these six words: 'with Liberty and Justice for All,'" wrote activist Ken Richard of Walnut Creek in an email. "It is unfortunate that freedom and civil rights are not provided to all people of America.  That is why we are involved and why we are engaged, to bring about a world that works for everyone …

"We are protesting on Sept. 20  to make the public aware that the chain's president, Dan Cathy, is in opposition to same-sex marriage and that the dollars that you spend at Chick-fil-A are being sent to anti-gay organizations. We encourage everyone to boycott this fast food restaurant."

Cathy, in an interview with The Baptist Press, said, "We are very much supportive of the family--the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."

Since then, Chick-fil-A issued a statement July 19 that "going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena," according to the website of the Baptist Press.

Northern California move

Chick-fil-A is making moves in Northern California, with plans to open restaurants in Sunnyvale, Santa Rosa and Walnut Creek. In Walnut Creek, a Chick-fil-A with drive-through service is part of a big construction project with a new 24-Hour Fitness at 2750 N. Main St.

Plans for the Sept. 20 protest are being made on a Facebook page, "Picket Chick Fil A opening in Walnut Creek."

Georgia-based Chick-fil-A has a reputation as a fundamentally Christian company and insists on closing all of its locations on Sundays so employees can go to church.

A recent piece in the Huffington Post noted Northern California resistance to Chick-Fil-A, including a strong stand by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

Federal rights

"I have been with my husband Steve for the past 25 years, and we were legally married four years ago," said Walnut Creek activist Richard. "We currently have the same rights and responsibilities as our heterosexual friends and family members in the great state of California.  What we do not have is the 1,000-plus federal rights (like filing federal taxes jointly, social security spousal benefits, etc...) that opposite sex couples currently are granted by our federal government."

X August 01, 2012 at 06:56 AM
Except these organizations harm gay people, their children, and children in general. That's much more than not supporting gay marriage.
Sco August 01, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Electradaddy - Actively harm? Details, please, not rhetoric.
Daniel August 01, 2012 at 03:45 PM
The chicken place has the right to donate their money to whomever they want, and protesters have the right to protest the chicken place for whatever reason they want. The public will dictate the outcome.
TallTony August 01, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Being pro-something doesn't mean you're anti-anything. Imagine if the situation were reversed? Would it be appropriate for "traditional families" to protest in front of a business that promotes gay marriage? What is there to really protest? It looks like a waste of time to me. Why? Because people may have different beliefs. The best thing we can all do is live our lives well, with love, and respect. No matter what your belief, if you live to love then respect each other, we will be using our time on earth for good and not to confront. I grew up in California and learned tolerance and understanding. I learned to live well and to help others to do the same. There are lots of people who's beliefs I don't embrace but because they too are living well and not rubbing their beliefs in my face, many of them are my friends. Protesters on both sides, go home, take care of your loved ones and live well for them.
X August 01, 2012 at 04:54 PM
These organizations (the ones CFA dontes to - not CFA itself) promote the false belief that LGBT people are pedophiles. By incorrectly shining the spotlight on the LGBT community, the real offenders (typically married men like Jerry Sandusky) are allowed to hide in the darkness and continue their abuse. Additionally, these groups/organizations actively harm children with gay parents. These groups promote laws that ban same sex couples from adopting. This means only one of the parents is able to gain legal standing as a parent, leaving children vulnerable to issues around custody, support, medical care, school records, inheritance, etc. Why does CFA support groups that place children in harm's way? That doesn't seem Christian and that's certainly far different behavior from simply opposing same-sex marriage. While CFA's supporters may want to delude themselves and others by suggesting the argument is over one man's opinion, that's simply not true. The problem is CFA donating money to organizations that work to promote policies and beliefs that harm children and place them at risk. I surmise that most CFA supporters don't want to admit that truth (or are unaware of the reality) because placing your views about marriage equality above the needs of children isn't a very honorable thing to do.
X August 01, 2012 at 05:04 PM
People for "traditional families" protest and boycott businesses all the time. They've protested outside abortion clinics for decades. One "traditional family" group (Minnesota for Marriage) recently protested outside the headquarters of General Mills because it came out against Minnesota's proposed marriage amendment. These "traditional family" groups employ the same tactics used by those who support marriage equality.
X August 01, 2012 at 05:53 PM
And let's not forget the "traditional family" folks that protest each year outside a Six Flags amusement park in Texas. "According to group’s site, 'Gay Day' is promoted in Texas homosexual publications. Though Six Flags says it is not a sanctioned event, the groups believes the park management still should take action to stop it." Notice that these "traditional family" folks are protesting a business even though the business has nothing to do with the event. I suppose this "traditional family" group would like Six Flags to quiz all park customers about their sexual orientation and then ban those that are gay?
Sco August 01, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Electradaddy - I don't agree with your point of view, but I gotta' hand it to you for not using that well-worn, mis-used word 'hate' or 'hater' in describing the folks who think the traditional family unit (granted not always perfect) is far superior to any other creation that some seek to replace it with. I am looking forward to trying my first Chick-fil-A in September.
TallTony August 02, 2012 at 12:34 AM
ElectraDaddy, if you read my statement I hope you understood that protesting (on either side) really doesn't do much but annoy people. I'm suggesting that people focus on their families. I'm Catholic and enjoy my "traditional family" but being somewhat enlightened, I also appreciate that people from all sexual orientations can provide a very loving home for their children. Adoption is a process that I'm familiar with since my new wife has two adopted children she dearly loves and I'm now part of this loving household where I believe the children also had to adopt me (as their new step-dad). Any family that is "non-traditional" will have its challenges. Every family has its challenges. I just don't believe that spending time outside with signs is always the best way to get the point across that ALL families want to love each other and will have similar challenges that are part of being a family. Vote! Meet with like-minded people for support! Elect a candidate that represents not only the LBGT community but the overall community they represent. Again, pro-something doesn't have to mean anti-something else. By the way, I now live in Fort Worth, Texas (grew up in Walnut Creek) and if there are people who are protesting at the local Six Flags park in Arlington, I'll ignore them no matter what side they represent. It's not the time or place for protesting. It's time to enjoy time with people you care about.
X August 02, 2012 at 03:41 AM
It's not about what people "think". Who cares, really? The science is clear that the children of gay parents don't turn out any better or any worse than the children of straight parents. So, what people "think" is really pointless. The problem in this situation are the groups that work to promote laws and policies that harm gay people, their children, and children in general.
Scott August 02, 2012 at 03:19 PM
People seem to be missing the point here...Marriage is not all about religion! Marriage is a civial classification with specific legal benefits adn requirements. Not everyone has a church wedding- if any church wants to ban same sex weddings, fine, no problem! But same sex couples deserve the same government authorized marital classification with the same rights and benefits, and yes, restrictions, as heterosexual couples...period. It drives me crazy how people think their religious beliefs should dictate public policy- HELLO??? Seperation of church and state! Ever heard of that??? By saying you don't support same sex marriage in your place of worship is fine, but if you generically say you dont think same sex couples have the same right to be married in the eyes of the government, than you are predjudiced bigots, plain and simple. It's time to put an end to the last 'acceptable' discrimination and keep church and state seperate. Slave owners used to say the same exact thing. So you can hide behind your bible, but you are still a bigot.
Carolyn Phinney August 02, 2012 at 04:40 PM
I plan to protest this business coming to our community. We do not want to move back to the dark ages in civil rights, when our beloved gay friends were in the closet. We want to move forward to full equal rights for all human beings, no matter whom they love. Our children's generation thinks we old people are nuts for discriminating against their friends. They have open hearts and minds. Please join us in this peaceful protest.
Steve O August 02, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Marriage, in the government's eyes, is simply ordinary contract law. Two sane, knowledgeable adults, under no duress, agree to certain obligations and certain rights and then are guaranteed protection by the law. There is no reference in contract law that any party can be barred from signing such an agreement simply because of religious philosophy, sexual orientation, or hair color. The laws of this country are founded on common sense morality, not on Sharia Law, Biblical Law, or Hindu customs.
Steve O August 02, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Thanks, Carolyn.
Carolyn Phinney August 02, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Exactly, Steve O. Marriage is a contract, plain and simple. Sometimes people sign that contract in a church and a religion confers a special blessing. These are two separate issues.
TallTony August 02, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Again, being for something is not being against something else. If you want to ensure the rights you mentioned, children are better served with you going to your government representatives to secure or maintain the laws that protect all. Standing outside a Chick-Fil-A to protest won't accomplish anything but irritate the people who want a healthier chicken meal.
Carolyn Phinney August 02, 2012 at 05:10 PM
All speech is not protected. Hate speech is not protected. This speech fans hatred and discrimination, but does not cross the line into the legal category of hate speech. None-the-less, we all know this speech is designed to inflame hatred and discrimination. In Nazi Germany, Jews were the target of such hateful speech long before they were murdered. Gay children are sometimes murdered, even today, and often commit suicide because of the hatred they experience. Can't we all just accept and enjoy our differences? I adore my gay friends. I wouldn't live in a world without them.
TallTony August 02, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Good points Steve. I guess people forgot that less than 100 years ago women didn't have the right to vote in the USA! It wasn't until 1919 with the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Dramatic change in society takes time.
Lance Howland (Editor) August 02, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Hey, commenters, the chicken controversy is picking up feathers ... er ... steam. I wanted to make sure you didn't miss the John Goodman video lampooning the Chick-fil-A Flap. Goodman plays the late Col. Sanders as an entrepreneur catering to the gay customers. There's a link to it in our new story: http://patch.com/A-w9lq -- Lance Howland, editor, Walnut Creek Patch
Daniel August 02, 2012 at 05:44 PM
You have the support of the Atheist Community.
TL August 03, 2012 at 05:01 AM
My husband and I have been married 34 years and have three grown children, all straight, and employed, or in grad school. We live in Lamorinda, and are both executives. I imagine many would see us as 'traditional.' And I believe we are in the way in which that word matters most. Because I support stable relationships and communities, I intend to support this boycott and protest. I support loving relationships and engaged citizens. Why should the sexual orientation of my neighbors concern me? It wasn't that long ago when inter-racial couples couldn't legally marry. Why should the racial make-up, or sexual preferences of my neighbors, who are otherwise loving couples, and who contribute to our communities, matter to me? Or threaten me? I wholeheartedly support the exercise of free speech and the free market by refraining from purchasing products from Chick-Fill-A. Just as the CEO is entitled to his exercise of free speech, I similarly am entitled to exercise my free market rights and free speech to spend my money on products sold by companies that support issues and candidates with whom I agree.
John Craig August 17, 2012 at 09:33 PM
But it is OK for corporations to donate to the other side. Typically hypocritical.
John Craig August 18, 2012 at 03:14 AM
To X, whoever he or she may be: protesting abortion is completely different than protesting gay marriage. The harm you state is vague. I can state that the Gay Pride Parade with all of its degenerates harms my young children, so maybe we should protest it. Starbubucks supports gay marriage, I do not see any protests there. The Henson Co. pulled its muppet toys out of Chic-Fil-A, don't see much protesting there. Cities have threatened to kick Chic-Fil-A out of town because of their beliefs. Everyone has an opinion and yours is not always the only correct one. Personally, I could care less about this issue one way or the other, but I will stick up for free speech every time. Although after listening to some of your sides idiotic arguments, I am considering forming a protest at a local Starbucks just for the hell of it. It would be great if everyone had this passion behind all of our country's real problems, like the gigantic debt, the open credit card used by our government, no jobs, low pay, the erosion of our rights, the over abundance of regulations put on us by both the state and federal government, and a bunch of elected officials on both sides of the aisle, from presiident to congressman who are completely clueless of what the hell is going on. If we do not start paying attention now, in 10 years it will not matter anymore.
Bob Brittain August 18, 2012 at 03:31 AM
I eschew restaurants with ungrammatical names and high-fat content meals. That set of abominations is MUCH worse than marriages of choice between consenting adults.
Josh Goldman January 02, 2013 at 08:47 AM
Since the opening day, Chik Fil A has had a long line of familes waiting to eat their tasty food. I ate there in principal. No one, atheist, gay, catholic or whatever should not violate my right to eat where I want. This is not North Korea. There are tons of families waiting in line to eat there, Asian familes, Hispanic familes, Afro American families. To all homosexuals: Too bad, you cannot violate our rights!!
TallTony January 02, 2013 at 09:34 AM
Could you be specific about when the Catholic Church acted against your right to eat food from Chick-Fil-A?
TallTony January 02, 2013 at 09:36 AM
Bob, it's a good thing that Chick-Fil-A has better quality food than most fast-food chains. Please note that business names don't have to be grammatical, just memorable.
TallTony January 02, 2013 at 09:41 AM
While I'm sure the company supports your right to free speach, the difference is that Chick-Fil-A is not promoting a boycott of the businesses where you and your spouse are executives. However, if you want to take your business elsewhere, Bon Apetit! I remember Chow in Lafayette has delicious food too!
TallTony January 02, 2013 at 09:42 AM
"You have the support of the Atheist Community." Good to hear you guys believe in something...
Carolyn Phinney January 02, 2013 at 05:27 PM
Josh, you have the right to eat there and those of us who believe in equal rights for every human being have the right to protest their corporate behavior. No one is violating your rights. One does not have to have a specific sexual preference to be a protestor. Nor does one have to be liberal. Human rights activists come in all creeds, sexual orientations, and political persuasions.

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