Chick-fil-A store sponsors gay pride festival

Anthony Piccola, owner of the Chick-fil-A franchise in Nashua, New Hampshire, announced this his shop will be a sponsor of the area's gay pride festival next weekend. From Picolla's statement:

“In both my personal and professional life, I have had and continue to have positive relationships with family, friends, customers and employees in the LGBT community. It would make me sad if someone felt that they were not openly welcomed into my life or restaurant based on their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender."

"Nashua Chick-fil-A owner backing gay pride festival" (Nashua Telegraph)

"Nashua Chick-fil-A to help sponsor New Hampshire Pride Festival" (NH Pride Fest)


    1. They’re not. This is just the next step in a guerilla campaign to illustrate the US Right’s “evolution” on the topic leading up to the convention and election. I predict it will end up at some kind of “separate but equal” policy.

      1. I really doubt that. The Repubs are very far away from “separate but equal”. They might endorse it for the 2016 convention, or even 2020, but only in an effort to stop the marriage equality dominoes from falling as a few more states approve gay marriage.

        I think most gay folks these days would approve highly if the Repubs came out in favor of civil unions that were marriage in all but name at this years convention. Or did you mean something else by “separate but equal”?

        1. Actually, I don’t think you’re right about that – that most gay people would highly approve of not-quite-marriage if it came from Republicans.  It would feel like a backhanded win, I suppose, but most of us aren’t okay with segregation.  

          1. I think he meant that it would be a good step for Republicans to come that far, not that it is far enough.

          1.  Not quite – it also comes into play in things like end-of-life care, visitation rights, and other “softer” issues. (Though admittedly that might well be up to the local government, not national.)

            The main problem with “partnerships” and “civil unions” instead of “marriages” is apparently that a lot of law texts and such specifically talks about marriages, so they might not actually apply unless the union in question is called a marriage. (One solution would be to say “and this civil union shall be considered a marriage whenever that concept comes up in any law or regulation”, but I’m not sure if that’d fly with the kind of people who oppose calling it a marriage in the first place.)

          2. I thought about that and mentally put that stuff under “assets,” which I suppose is inapt aside from I guess contractual themes. Is visitation and stuff really law? I’m thinking maybe it’s just (hospital, et al) policy?

    2.  I was thinking the same thing.
      My guess is, they won’t yank it right away, because of the press fallout. Corporate will give it 6 months, then he’ll either lose his franchise due to “failure to meet performance goals” or he’ll “sell” the franchise outright to someone else.

      1.  Let’s check back in six moths. I think Anthony Piccola will be quite popular with company execs. They can point to him in press interviews. Anyway, Anthony Piccola is doing the right thing and good for him.

  1. i thought this whole  thing would be a non-issue due to these communities being mutually exclusive.  are there really any fat unhealthy gay dudes that would eat that crap?

      1.  “What you eat isn’t really about which gender you have sex with.”

        Unless you’re British and you eat innuendo and shit recrimination.

        I’m British and your comment made me laugh. Cheers!

  2. A good reminder that, no matter what the Supreme Court may tell you, corporations are not people in themselves — they are made of people, and like any organization, they hold no monopoly on the opinions of their constituent members.

    Two cheers for changing the system from within! (although like Gary, I wonder what the repercussions will be for this guy with Corporate.)

    1. From  the Wikipedia article on Chick-Fil-A:

      “Chick-fil-A uses a model significantly different from other restaurant franchises, notably in retaining ownership of each restaurant. Chick-fil-A selects the restaurant location, builds it, and pays the rent, while retaining ownership.”

  3. Too bad the mayors of Boston and Chicago aren’t as open minded about allowing restaurants in their cities based on the beliefs of the chain owner.

      1. As true as that is, to be consistent the mayors of Boston and Chicago should be taking action to ban the Boy Scouts and a variety of churches from operating in their cities as well. As recently as a few years back they should have been resisting US military recruiters setting up shop in their cities. Maybe decline the invitation of presidents and senators who opposed marriage equality. Visitors from entire states that voted to ban gay marriage… I don’t know if a patchwork of politicians deciding “we don’t want your kind around here” in an inconsistent application of principles is the path we want to take towards marriage equality and gay rights.

    1. Too bad for Chick-fil-a.  Works for me just fine. I’d much rather have healthy local businesses than national chains, thank you. (Don’t conservatives support owner-operated small business?)

      1. Modern conservatives support “small” businesses, but only AFTER they are worth millions-to-billions and employ hundreds-to-thousands, just like they also support “job creators” who send all their “job creating”-capital overseas to untraceable off-shore banks for the purpose of dodging taxes.

    2. The corporation has a culture of hatred and discrimination, what this particular owner is doing is nice, but profits are still going to hate groups. I am from this area of Chicago, and I applaud the alderman for his actions, I would also applaud him if he’d only done it just to keep another shitty corporate chain out of our neighborhood. For once a Chicago alderman is making us proud.

      As somebody who’s defending a company that donates money to fanatical hate groups, I wouldn’t say you’re in a position to talk about “open mindedness”.

    1. Go for it, but recognize that it is a privately held company run by a man and his sons, so the CEO will likely die before anyone ousts him. Still, the spotlight ought to be shined on this company and I’m glad it is starting to warm at least some franchise holders up.

  4. CfA try to weasel thir way onto one of our local universities’ campus a few months ago, and the board of regents told them that their discrimination would NOT be tolerated –

    And, instead of promising not to discriminate, the franchiser folded his tents and slunk away, never to be heard from again. Which tells me that, despite CfA’s claims of franchise “independence” the homophobic atmosphere comes from a bit higher up the chain.

  5. It’s a nice gesture, but they’re still a franchisee paying a certain amount of their revenues to head office. As long as that’s the case, and head office is funding hate groups, even “good” franchise owners are part of the problem.

    1. Yeah, but if Piccola just sold his franchise in disgust with the upper management, it wouldn’t be newsworthy.  Now Chick-fil-A has to deal with a franchise “gone rogue,” and will have to proceed very carefully indeed to minimize bad press.  It’s pretty obvious the company wasn’t looking to politicize its business, and despite Wednesday’s widespread show of support, I’d be surprised if the corporate office wouldn’t seriously rather this whole issue dried up and blew away.  They’re neither a church nor a PAC; they’re a chicken shack out to sell sammiches, and as such their mandate is to broaden their customer base as much as possible, not shrink it.

    2. Since this gentleman has taken a real risk in favor of gay rights, I’m willing to set aside my usual intransigence and see what happens.  If he suffers corporate sanctions because of his actions, it could have all kinds of interesting repercussions.

  6. I was wondering when this would start. Not all chick-fil-a owners think alike, and there must be a lot of them pissed off at corporate as well.

  7. Sadly they are still a franchise, which means their profits go towards the corporate office, which will then use a portion of them to fund hate groups. It is very commendable what they are doing… but as a business they are still doing wrong.

  8. No one reads comments do they…here I’ll post up Rich Keller’s wiki statement:

    “Chick-fil-A uses a model significantly different from other restaurant franchises, notably in retaining ownership of each restaurant. Chick-fil-A selects the restaurant location, builds it, and pays the rent, while retaining ownership.”

    So it’s not really a franchise.  There isn’t going to be any taking away of it…if there are repercussions he’ll be fired or demoted.  He is their employee, not an IBO.

    1. Mr. Piccola is putting his fat in the fire on this issue, or pressure cooker in this instance. He’s really taking a risk. The corporation can simply stop paying his rent. I hope things go well for him.

  9. I haven’t been paying attention, but I really, really don’t get this whole hubbub.

    It’s fucking fast food. If you eat it, you’re probably a dumb shit redneck. Why does everyone care about this so much?

      1. Because people like you and him don’t know how to read, otherwise you’d have seen that the hubbub is about their donations to designated hate groups.

        1. Designated by whom? I’m guessing the venerable Southern Poverty Law Center, which has been the prime designator since 1971. I checked out its Hate Map of over 1000 hate groups in the US. The usual suspects: Nazi, Aryan, JDL, Black Muslims. Not trying to argue w/u but “designated hate group” is a powerful phrase. While the lion’s share of Chick’s money goes to its decidedly Christian Winshape org – not a designated hate group by the SPLC – a percentage of money goes to “traditional marriage” Christian groups. Of those, the only one the SPLC has on its hate map, as far as I could see, is the Family Research Council in D.C. So if they got rid of that, would that mean Chick doesn’t donate to “designated hate groups”? Or are you basing your info on a better source than the SPLC?

          1. Designated by whom? I’m guessing the venerable Southern Poverty Law Center

            Yes of course, I’ve linked to it a number of times now, and in threads you commented in too. Exodus is another one.


            I see what you did there…if you want to take issue with their take on these groups then by all means let’s have it.

            If they stated that they would cut ties with those groups that would be a good start indeed!, but the other groups they give to are just as bad, never mind the general culture surrounding the business.

          2. Navin: meant venerable w/o spin. Can’t find Exodus Int’l on SPLC’s list. Maybe they escaped…or repented!

        2. Which was my point.  The donation was because of righteous indignation that gays want to get married.  Next, we have righteous indignation that a chicken restaurant would dare do something so stupid.  And others pissed that their favored chicken joint is getting bad press.  And so on.  A hubbub due to righteous indignation.

          Americans like to get riled up and shout at each other.  It’s not about solving problems, it’s about being louder than those you disagree with.

          You seems to be rather riled up too.  Hope it made you feel better to call me illiterate.  It was a good shout.

          1. You’ve completely deleted all the content of this argument in favor of defining it in terms of form. I guess both sides in WWII were just being pissy.

          2. I think it’s amazing that you dismiss my – and other gay folks’ – actual concerns about the loss of our civil rights, legal protections, children, etc. as “righteous indignation” that is somehow equivalent to that of the people who are “righteously indignant” that we 1. exist and 2. would like equality.

            I mean, they’re angry because they, I dunno, fear change and thing the gays are evil.  I’m angry because some members of my community get stabbed for talking, get fired for being out, aren’t allowed to co-adopt, aren’t allowed to teach children…  I’m angry because the anti-gay rhetoric leads to our agonizingly high teen suicide rate.  I’m angry because people, including me, are getting hurt.

            I don’t like being angry, and I’d be thrilled if I could stop having this conversation.  I don’t like this fight.  I just can’t stop until we have equality under the law.  Consider a playground.  A bully torments a smaller kid for half a year with no one looking, so that the kid lives in fear.  The kid gets hurt if the bully catches him outside of school.  Eventually the smaller kid starts shouting back and throws a punch.  The bully hits pretty hard, other kids show up to tell the bully to stop, and a teacher comes and suspends both the bully and the victim.

            You’re not the wrongheaded teacher, here.  You’re the person standing on the sidelines with no fucking clue, saying “kids just like to fight.”

          3.  Sorry to reply to myself, but I think you are misunderstanding my argument.

            I want equality under marriage.  Treatment of gays is reprehensible.  None of my comments should be see otherwise.

            My point was about American’s in general and how we deal with disagreement.  Not just this, but in almost every aspect of life.  The current hubbub is an example.

            Righteous indignation can stem from serious injustice.  Chick-Fil-A’s indignation does not.  Gay rights supporters indignation does.  It’s the attitude of “How dare they!” from both sides that bothers me.

            Chick-Fil-A is in the wrong, but I’ll defend their right to say stupid things.  That right to speak an open mind is a critical tool for gay rights.  It is to be defended.

            But going back to my original comment: it’s a hubbub because that’s the way we like it.  It’s our culture.  I apologize that I am not articulate enough to make it clear I am objecting to American style conflict resolution, not gay rights.

    1. You’ve said that your money is your vote. So to put it in your terms, doesn’t it only make sense that people would care whether they are indirectly voting for hate groups? What part is over your head?

    2. If you eat it, you’re probably a dumb shit redneck.

      And yet, fast food is a largely urban phenomenon.

      Why does everyone care about this so much?

      Because the business owner is contributing large sums of money to purchase state-sponsored discrimination. Did you just get your privilege tank refilled this morning?

  10. I wonder if any of the Chick-Fil-A’s here in Nashville Tennessee will do something like this.  Oh wait, I just answered my own question.  Never mind.

  11. Chic-Fil-A may opt to yank his ownership, and if they do, they’ll claim they’re able to because they don’t require full purchase for franchise investments. Instead, they require about $5000, and keep tighter control on restaurants that corporate still retains clear ownership rights to. No CfA franchisee owns his store outright.

    People need to very clearly understand a couple of things about Chic-Fil-A:

    1. For every dollar they earn, some percentage (typically assumed to be about 3%) goes toward anti-gay propaganda. Even if you eat at the one store not stating they support this goal, the owner there only retains a percentage of the profits himself. The rest revert to corporate, where they can do as they please. Since they please to raise funds for hate, that’s what part of your money will go to.

    Note, that he also didn’t say, “I won’t contribute to those organizations.” Instead, he’s just making sure his restaurant is full during gay pride. 

    2. CfA doesn’t only discriminate against homosexuals. They have been successfully sued for discrimination on both religious and gender grounds. Currently GLAAD has a lawsuit against one CfA store where four separate women were terminated so they could go be “stay at home” moms. Their positions were filled by men, and they had been satisfactory employees up to dismissal.

    BB may have already posted a link to the 2007 article by Forbes which discusses the firing of a moslem manager-in-training, who lost his job the day after he failed to participate in a prayer to Jesus.

    So, they ARE breaking Constitutional law. In fact, what they’re doing is against The Civil Rights of 1964. They’re claiming that it’s OK because they’re Christian.

    SCOTUS wouldn’t agree.

    This is what they have to say about people trying to use religion to skirt secular law. 

    “The right of free exercise does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a valid and neutral law of general applicability on the ground that the law proscribes (or prescribes) conduct that his religion prescribes (or proscribes).
    To make an individual’s obligation to obey such a law contingent upon the law’s coincidence with his religious beliefs, except where the State’s interest is “compelling” — permitting him, by virtue of his beliefs, ‘to become a law unto himself,’ … contradicts both constitutional tradition and common sense.” 

    In a land that allows freedom of religion, you cannot allow religion to dominate secular law.

    You need to remember: CfA is neither a church nor a not-for-profit organization. They are a for-profit secular organization using funds to promote discrimination. They are NOT protected by First Amendment extensions, and civil rights exclusions. They are performing discrimination within their own stores – as proven by successful lawsuits against them. The only reason that the lawsuit numbers are so low, is that employees are carefully vetted before employment. To even get hired at a CfA, you are expected to make claims about religion, intent to marry, and intent to stay with the company – for the rest of your life.

  12. Not even reading the comments… (yet… not normal for me).  But I just want to say YAY! for Nashua NH Chick Fil A manager dude.  Bravo.  

  13. I’m gay and in “the south.”  It’s funny how, when someone tried to set up a New Age shop here, the Mayors of some of the towns said, basically, “People who practice witchcraft are NOT welcome here” or “that Mosque is NOT welcome in Tennessee”, many christians cheered “local government.”  Now, they are getting all upset at “local government” when a local government says that they don’t want Chik-Fil-A .. inconsistant much?

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