Keeping Chick-fil-A on campus is incompatible with upholding a diverse and inclusive community

by Ricky Cavazos — Daily reader

I would like to respond to the recent editorial the Minnesota Daily Editorial Board published called “Petitioning against Chick-fil-A,” regarding the presence of Chick-fil-A at Coffman Union. The board stated that Chick-fil-A has not broken any laws or discriminated against anyone. According to a statement by Forbes in 2007, Chick-fil-A has been sued over a dozen times for employment discrimination. Chick-fil-A’s founder, Truett Cathy, said he wanted to hire married people because they were more industrious and productive and that he would probably fire someone who has been sinful or done something harmful to their family members.

Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy did not only say he supports traditional marriage, he said that if you support gay marriage, you “are inviting God’s judgment on our nation” and that we “shake our fist at him” when we do. He also called same-sex marriage “twisted up kind of stuff.”

Chick-fil-A has donated at least $5 million dollars to the following organizations: Family Research Council — a certified hate group determined by the Southern Poverty Law Center — Focus on the Family and Exodus International.

These organizations believe homosexuals are not discriminated against. They compare homosexuals to pedophiles and the mentally ill. They oppose gays being able to adopt. They believe a person can change their sexuality. They call transgenderism a mental illness, oppose efforts to reduce gay bullying, support reinstating sodomy laws and believe in “gay therapy.” Two founders of Exodus International left their wives to pursue same-sex relationships, and one founder wrote an apology to those people who joined Exodus and said that he never saw anyone successfully be converted.

On Aug. 1, 2012, thousands of people all over America lined up at Chick-fil-As to support “free speech.” The same people that were in support of Dan Cathy’s freedom of speech rights are the same people trying to silence NFL player Brendon Ayanbadejo of the Baltimore Ravens for publicly saying he supports same-sex marriage.

We live in a day and age where the University of Minnesota can no longer pride itself on being a diverse campus while turning its back on its extensive LGBT student and staff population. The reality is that LGBT are all around you, and they are people who are near and dear to you.

They are your roommates, your residence hall mates and your RAs. They are your classmates. They are the professors you seek truth and knowledge from, and they are your teaching assistants that spend office hours with you. They are your fraternity brothers and your sorority sisters. They are the athletes you cheer for at football, basketball and baseball games. They are members of the University Marching Band. They are your family members, your friends and your best friends who you share your life with, party with and rely on who have yet to come out to you because they fear you will not accept them.

They are contributors to society and want to live their lives without fear, violence and discrimination. And when you spend money at Chick-fil-A, you are hurting them. You are giving your money to a company that donates that money to organizations that work politically to suppress their civil rights. You contribute to them being discriminated against and deny them the opportunity and right to marry the person they love, you deny them hospitalization visitation rights to their partners and you deny them spousal benefits.

Think about that the next time you decide to eat at Chick-fil-A at Coffman.