Memo To The Media: Chick-fil-A Condemns, Discriminates, And Campaigns Against LGBT People

The latest surge of news about Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay positions provides a unique case study about how easily stories can be spun based on what information is shared and how that information is presented. Unfortunately, the mainstream press is missing much of the story, in part because conservatives are only telling the part of it they can most easily defend while trying to rewrite the truth about the rest. Even the Boston Globe — oblivious to its own past reporting — believes the new Chick-fil-A controversy is a open-and-shut matter of respecting the First Amendment. Here are the basic facts about Chick-fil-A in regards to LGBT issues:

That is outright condemnation. That is open discrimination. Now, Chick-fil-A said last week that it will “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender,” which sounds nice, but as the HRC score indicates, there is nothing to substantiate such a claim. There is no policy on the company’s books that actually protects LGBT people from discrimination, and funding hate groups cannot be justified as “honor, dignity, and respect.”

With all of the facts at hand, there is no accurate way to portray Chick-fil-A as any kind of “victim.” There is also no accurate way to reduce Chick-fil-A’s words and actions to merely defending “biblical principles.” This is — in every way, shape, and form — a company proactively engaging against the interests of LGBT people, and that is the quite justified reason for outcry. Note that Dan Cathy’s comment to the Baptist Press that the company is “guilty as charged” for defending “traditional marriage” — as poignant an admission as it was — is relatively benign compared to other reasons listed above, which is probably why it’s the only comment conservatives have even acknowledged.

Opposing marriage equality is an offensive anti-gay position, it’s true. But Chick-fil-A open and willfully condemns, discriminates, and campaigns against LGBT people, and every piece of chicken sold funds that ongoing effort. Any story or talking head that omits those details is missing the entire point of the controversy.