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.
"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."