Jack Tame: Bigoted fried-chicken chain leaves a sour taste

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Gay marriage is out, but creature nuptials are OK. Photo / Supplied
Gay marriage is out, but creature nuptials are OK. Photo / Supplied

There are plenty of reasons not to eat American fast food. Boxes and trays of disposable sugary death, the ubiquitous deep-fried burger and chicken chains are as much a reflection of America's addiction to mediocre uniformity as anything to do with healthy living.

Though I'm an active fan of a regular junk food binge, for anyone who values variety, arteries, or their dignity for that matter, I'd much sooner recommend a pizza or a diner-served hamburger than any meal that could be ordered in all 50 states.

My last experience of an American chain-fried chicken meal ended in a trip home, a roasting hot shower and some vigorous scrubbing with a reel of steel wool. It wasn't the calories that did it, but the synthetic, pre-fabricated and woeful standard of food. You can't exfoliate shame.

Perhaps now for some, though, there's another reason to avoid at least one of the omnipresent franchises. The chief executive of Chick-fil-A, a very average chicken chain specialising in very average food, has confirmed the company's anti-gay-marriage stance.

"I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about," said devout Baptist chief executive Dan Cathy.

And although it used to be that in purchasing a stack of Chick-fil-A Chick-n-Strips with Polynesian dipping sauce and a box of waffle potato fries you'd be discriminating only against your blood pressure, in recent years the company has spent millions of dollars supporting groups that actively oppose gay marriage.

It continues a bad few weeks for gay rights' campaigners. After the widespread liberal jubilation following Barack Obama's public support of same-sex matrimony, the big pink train to civil equality has lost a little momentum. Just last week, after careful review, the Boy Scouts of America voted to continue its ban on openly gay members and gay or lesbian scout leaders. Gay marriage didn't come into the picture, it was simply a question of whether openly homosexual people can join the Boy Scouts. In the US, they still can't. How very 2012.

With Chick-fil-A, the backlash has been swift. Amid nationwide vows to boycott the restaurants, the Mayor of Boston says he'll deny Chick-fil-A a licence to operate in his city, which of course, itself, is a move of oppression. But perhaps grandest of all was the response from Mr Jim Henson and his beloved and celebrated Muppets. The Muppets had partnered with the fast food company for a range of toy puppets to be served with Chick-fil-A's kids' meals. But upon learning of Cathy's anti-gay marriage stance, The Muppets immediately cut ties.

Chick-fil-A's chief executive insists he doesn't run a Christian company, but a company based on Christian values. Chick-fil-A's stores still close every Sunday.

Gay rights' campaigners have taken to Twitter; Chick-fil-A's PR team is scrambling. But religious views aside, perhaps it was naive to have expected anything different from a company that serves exactly the same meals in more than 1600 US stores.

Humanity is diverse. Variety is the spice of life. Chicken isn't.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- Herald on Sunday

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