The recent revelation of Chick-fil-a’s $2,000,000 worth of anti-LGBT donations has sparked various actions against the company. We previously wrote about the YETA youth from Orange County, who will be holding a demonstration outside of the grand opening of a new Chick-fil-a in Laguna Hills, Calif.
Carly McGehee created a Facebook page to organize people to visit their local Chick-fil-a and share a kiss with someone to send a message of love and equality. GLAAD was able to talk with Carly about her action recently.
To find out more actions that individuals have organized about Chick-fil-a, or to promote your own, visit the GLAAD Chick-fil-a action page.
Carly: I often patronized the restaurant chain. I was aware of their religious affiliation, but since it did not directly affect me at the time, I had no problem with them. Thanks to an article in Huffington Post, I found out that Chick-fil-a had donated millions of dollars to anti-LGBT equality groups. Once I found out where my money was going to, and how it was directly affecting me and my loved ones, I immediately stopped supporting the chain and encouraged my friends and family to do the same.
What was the tipping point that made you want to take an action against Chick-fil-a?
Carly: This has been something I had been contemplating for some time. As a LGBT activist, I am always looking for new ways to get the voice of equality out there. Once I read Dan Cathy's public comment that the company does, in fact, oppose marriage equality I knew that the time was now. I could not sit idly by and let my basic human rights be infringed upon.
Many people are taking different approach. Why a kiss-in?
Carly: But the refusal to spend our money is not enough. Change will not come if we are sitting at home behind closed doors. We need to show not just the Chick-fil-a company, but the rest of the country that our numbers are great. By participating in the kiss in, thousands of people will get out of the house and show their support for LGBT equality. This is what will make the biggest impact. As President Obama said, "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."
What do you hope will come from the kiss-in action?
Carly: I hope that this event does two things: one that it shows that members of LGBT community are a force to be reckoned with. We refuse to sit on the sidelines. We are here, we have a voice, and we will not be quieted. Secondly I hope it shows other anti-LGBT companies that as American citizens, we will no longer tolerate inequality and we can take direct action when we see fit.
Do you have a message for those who are going to participate in the kiss-in?
Carly: When people come out to this event, we want to encourage them to be as polite, appropriate, and tasteful as they can. This is a kiss in, not a protest, or a chance to distribute hate from either side.
Anti-LGBT activists are lobbying support for Chick-fil-a, asking people to dine at the restaurant on the same day as your kiss-in, are these actions coordinated?
Carly: We chose the 3rd of august because it is the anniversary of the Episcopal Church House of Deputies electing Gene Robinson bishop in a 2-1 vote, making him the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church. Many reporters have been saying that this event was in response to Mike Huckabee's Chick Fil A appreciation day. This is not true. Our event was created on July 19, several days before Huckabee announced his events.
Several companies have recently come out in support of LGBT equality. Why is the support of corporations so important?
Carly: I think corporate support for LGBT equality is important because it shows those in our community that we have support. For a long time the gay community had little to no visibility with it. When these companies state their support of our community, it shows us and the rest of our society that we aren't abnormal or ostracized any longer.
GLAAD thanks to Carly and all those who are making their voices heard for LGBT equality, in Chick-fil-a, and elsewhere.
If you are planning an event in your community, or to read more about other national efforts, go to www.glaad.org/chick-fil-a