The big news recently is that the President of popular fast food chain Chick-Fil-A announced a belief that marriage should be defined as a union between and man and a woman. This announcement only confirmed what had been fairly common knowledge, and while it was unsurprising it set off a controversy on the internet with people tweeting copycat recipes and any number of people supporting and opposing the company's views. My question for you all is "Does the president of Chick-Fil-A's position on gay marriage matter?"
Personally I'm a supporter of gay marriage - I completely support the right of churches to define it however they want, but the government-issued marriage certificate has nothing to do with the religious sacrament and is more a statement of property rights and a fiscal relationship. I also know that 50 years ago people were making the same arguments against interracial marriage that they're making about gay marriage and the world hasn't come to and end in that time.
On the other hand, at the end of the day I haven't heard any evidence of Chick-Fil-A actively discriminating against gay employees or anything similar. They've supported politicians who are opposed to gay marriage, but I don't think there's any evidence of employment discrimination or harassment based on sexual orientation.
With that, I think a more important principle comes into play here. The principle that we should value our freedom of speech against all threats, not just the government. The President of Chick-Fil-A is allowed to express opinions I disagree with or even find offensive, just like comedians are allowed to tell offensive jokes, and radio hosts are allowed to use off-color language. When we stop letting people express themselves then we lose an important part of our culture, and I worry about all kinds of censorship: censorship from government, censorship from businesses, and censorships from special interest groups. People should be allowed to express their beliefs, regardless of how offensive we find them.
I'm torn on this issue to be honest. Like I said, I support gay marriage, or in the alternative think government should stop using the word "marriage" altogether and just change everything to a "civil union" while leaving marriages completely to the churches. As long as everyone has equal opportunities, then that's all that matters to me. But on the other hand I don't think people should have to santize their speech for fear of public retribution. People are free to organize boycotts of Chick-Fil-A, but honestly I think they'd be better off fighting those politicians who claim to support gay marriage in a soundbite yet are conspicuous through their silence when asked to actually stand up and take action.
What do my readers think? Help me figure this one out.