Last friday, at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Highland Avenue where in days past a Carl's Junior stood which gave way to a Rallys and is now home to a spanking new Chick-Fil-A, a convergence of concerned locals staged a same sex kissing protest on the intersections' corner.
Atlanta based Chick-Fil-A has recently come under scrutiny for a growing list of anti gay marriage statements that it's founder Dan Cathy has been espousing in the last few months. The attention was ratcheted up recently due to Ex- Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee's campaign to support Chic Fil A by having a “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” where those who were patronizing Chic-Fil-A on Wednesday Aug 1st, would also be demonstrating their support for Dan Cathy's views on gay marriage and the american evangelical's right's platforms.
Here are some statements that Cathy made to the media.
Dan Cathy Interview with Push Church Broadcast http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1RM5IPeqCk
Dan Cathy leading a Prayer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4i8z0se-Fto&feature=fvsr
4 Areas of Discipline Dan Cathy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hos8kGMEdhQ
The Kiss-In demonstration idea was started from this Face Book page ... http://www.facebook.com/NationalSameSexKissDay
The page inspired protests throughout the country although in smaller numbers than the Huckabee inspired event.
The protest in Hollywood started at 5:00 pm pacific time and lasted well past 11 pm with 120 people or more demonstrating peacefully but boisterously just outside the eating area on the public sidewalk. Sporadic but well placed kissing gestures were in evidence throughout the event with only two LAPD officers in attendance for crowd control and security. The always busy intersection was inundated with car honks and cheers of support from the crawl hour traffic. Debates were shouted over the traffic noise as some of the Chick-Fil-A's more religiously right oriented patrons ventured out onto the sidewalk to spare with the smooching demonstrators. Although Bibles were sometimes pulled out and quoted, shouts were made and morality questioned on both sides, everyone kept a civilized stance. This seemed to speak about one of the best traditions in America...the sometimes confidence to argue politics on a street corner with little fear of things getting out of control or becoming violent. The idea that as Americans we can argue and go home in peace. Although historically this has not been the case with humankind in general it is still a cherished American habit.
A kissing booth was organized which raised money for the Transitional-Living Program at The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.. The booth was organized by Willow Ehrenreich and Renton Prefect. http://laglc.convio.net/site/PageServer?pagename=YW_YS_Transitional_Housing
A few days before this Mike Huckabee got the party rockin' by setting out this national challenge ..........
“I ask you to join me in speaking out on Wednesday, August 1 “Chick Fil-A Appreciation Day. No one is being asked to make signs, speeches, or openly demonstrate. The goal is simple. Let’s affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick-Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1.”
The event did well and has reportedly been quite profitable for The Chick-Fil-A corporation.
Chick-fil-A Executive Vice President of Marketing Steve Robinson stated.
“While we don’t release exact sales numbers, it was an unprecedented day,” “We are very grateful and humbled by the incredible turnout of loyal Chick-fil-A customers on August 1 at Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country. "
According to Jacques Couret from the Jacksonville Business Journal http://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2012/08/03/chick-fil-a-appreciation-day-was-a.html
The numbers may be well over Chic Fil A's 12.8 million a day average estimated sales.
Equality Matters states that Chick-Fil-A gives substantially to anti gay groups throughout America with about 1.7 million given out in 2009 alone through it's charitable vector Winshape.which was created by Chick-fil-A founder and chairman S. Truett Cathy in 1984.
Truett Cathy Founder of Chick-Fil-A. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7QGQCjbPEo&feature=related
In 2009 alone, WinShape donated $1,733,699 to multiple anti-gay groups:
Marriage & Family Legacy Fund: $994,199
Fellowship Of Christian Athletes: $480,000
National Christian Foundation: $240,000
Focus On The Family: $12,500
Eagle Forum: $5,000
Exodus International: $1,000
Family Research Council: $1,000
Winshape 2009 Publicly Available IRS 990 Form via Foundation Center, accessed 10/28/11] http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201111010001
Emily Schmall at Forbes Has a great article on the cultish hiring and advancement culture inside Chic-fil-A.
Here's a sample....
........That's not the only company mandate. Chick-fil-A's corporate mission, as stated on a plaque at company headquarters (and by Cathy), is to "glorify God." It is the only national fast-food chain that closes on Sunday so operators can go to church and spend time with their families; franchisees who don't go along with the rule risk having their contracts terminated. Company meetings and retreats include prayers, and the company encourages franchisees to market their restaurants through church groups. Howe Rice, a franchisee in Glen Allen, Va., hosts a Bible study group in one of his two Chick-fil-A restaurants every Tuesday. He offers a free breakfast to all who attend. "You don't have to be a Christian to work at Chick-fil-A, but we ask you to base your business on biblical principles because they work," says Cathy."
For the whole article... http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2007/0723/080.html
Mayors of three major cities Boston, Chicago and San Francisco and others have told Dan Cathy and his company to search elsewhere for locations. This has caused a backlash amongst a group of unlikely contrarians such as the ACLU in Chicago and Jon Stewart.
Mayor Menino's statement to Dan Cathy http://hrc.org/files/assets/resources/menino-letter.pdf
All in all it was a day for reigniting the now somewhat slowed down push towards marriage equality in California after the passing of Proposition 8. Proposition 8 was a state constitutional amendment passed in the California November 2008 state elections. The measure added a new provision, Section 7.5 of the Declaration of Rights, to the California Constitution, which provides that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."
The law was ruled to be unconstitutional by the United States District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker and is waiting to be possibly decided by the Supreme court.
Robert Stuart Lowden
Los Angeles 2012