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.”
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.