This is not a chicken-and-egg debate

The debate over same-sex marriage shouldn’t be reduced to a question of whether or not to buy a chicken sandwich — but it has.

Multitudes of evangelical Christians and others flocked to Chick-fil-A restaurants Wednesday to eat in support of the chain’s president, who has been vilified for voicing his opposition to gay marriage. Meanwhile, multitudes of same-sex marriage supporters are organizing a national kiss-in Friday at the restaurants.

Each demonstration should be viewed as Americans exercising their free-speech rights to express an opinion on this particular subject. More power to them. In fact, Chick-fil-A boss Dan Cathy exercised the same rights when he told the Biblical Recorder, a newspaper published by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, that he was “supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit.”

Are you likely to 'Eat Mor Chikin' over Chick-fil-A owner's antigay-marriage remarks?

  • 327 (57.9%)
  • 110 (19.5%)
  • 68 (12.0%)
  • 60 (10.6%)
  • 565

In the spirit of the First Amendment, it was inexcusable for the mayors of Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco to threaten to block any expansion of Chick-fil-A in their cities. They want to punish Cathy for daring to express an opinion he was already assumed to have. After all, Chick-fil-A, which claims to have been founded on Christian principles, won’t even open on Sundays.

This newspaper, too, disagrees with further opposition to same-sex marriage. The experience of New Jersey with civil unions shows that vehicle just isn’t a valid substitute. Too many institutions and government agencies don’t treat unions as marriages.

But support for one freedom shouldn’t lead to people’s trampling on another. Here’s hoping Friday’s kiss-in is as successful as Wednesday’s eat-in. Let the rest of the world see how freedom works in America, and wish they had the same menu.