Chick-fil-A Protests Reach Silicon Valley
Chick-fil-A restaurant planned in Mountain View
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by Stett Holbrook on Aug 01, 2012
There are plenty of reasons to oppose the opening of a new fast-food chain restaurant. The food is lousy. The workers aren’t paid very well. The profits leave the community. And they promote the homogenization of America’s food culture. But opponents of a Chick-fil-A restaurant planned in Mountain View have found a new reason: traffic congestion mixed with anti-gay bias.
David Speakman is a freelance writer and in 2008 he and his partner were the first gay couple to be legally married in Santa Clara. He raised more than $1,000 from 44 donors on the crowd sourcing web site WePay [https://www.wepay.com/donations/no2chik] to appeal the restaurant’s zoning application to open a drive-thru restaurant on El Camino.
“But being a bunch of hateful bigots is no crime in America where the First Amendment protects the rights of bigots to be evil,” Speakman wrote on the online petition. “But, we can fight the land use change and the increased danger to our population from cars diving up and over the sidewalks to get to fast food—a danger that is not worth the risk to our otherwise bicycle and pedestrian friendly city.” According to Speakman, the restaurant would not only contribute trash and the noise of idling cars close to a residential development, the development “exponentially” increases the number of cars driving over sidewalks, putting pedestrians and bicyclists at risk.
According to Think Progress, the blog for the left-leaning Center for American Progress Action Fund, Chick-Fil-A has given at least $5 million to anti-gay organizations and has a 0 rating from the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, meaning the company offers no benefits or protections for gay employees. Company president Dan Cathy has had some choice things to say about gay marriage including: “We are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say ‘we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage’” and “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.”
Last week, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee jumped on the Chick-fil-A dog pile and tweeted: “The closest Chick-fil-A to San Francisco is 40 miles away & I strongly recommend they not try to come any closer.”
In response to the criticism Chick-fil-A said that the company will “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect—regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.” The restaurant may not get a chance to make good on those claims if Speakman and his supporters get their way in Mountain View. The City Council will take up the issue when it gets back from summer recess in September.