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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: What the Chick-fil-A Issue Was About

See what this former elected official has to say about the issue.

As the Chick-fil-A controversy continues to unfold I have sat back and been pretty quiet about the issue but I feel compelled to share my view at this time.

As a firm believer in free speech, I believe Dan Cathy had every right to make his statement regarding his support of “traditional marriage”. However I would also exercise my rights by not supporting an organization or business that has given millions of dollars to organizations that judge my sexuality and treat me like a second-class citizen.

Who is to say what traditional marriage is? Marriage is a union between two individuals expressing their love, honor, and respect for one another. We do not have to look back to far in our history when interracial couples were considered contentious much like same sex couples are viewed today. As time progressed it took a Supreme Court case to change the idea of this acceptable practice.

Over the past several days through social and print media, radio, and television, I believe the grand standing on both sides of this issue is getting out of hand and does nothing from my prospective to move the issue.

As a gay partnered individual, I believe my partner and I have set an example that displays the lives of two people either homosexual or heterosexual working together through better or worse and choosing to improve each other’s lives and contribute productively to society and the community we live in.

As a former elected official, I was very disappointed to learn other elected leaders saying that they would not allow Chick-fil-A to open stores in their cities. Ultimately this stance would hurt communities as a whole because those additional tax revenue dollars support education, help maintain parks or lower tax rates.

On a personal note I would have a tough time casting a vote in favor of the business based on my personal view but I would not look at my colleagues any different if the decision was made to bring the business into the city.
Viewing some of the social media posts regarding this issue has really been disappointing and shows me the ignorance and bigotry that exist.

I hope that after the fire surrounding this issue calms that Americans can again have a true dialogue on the topic of same sex marriage. At the end of the day it is about being treated as a human being in all aspect of the word.

No one is telling anyone to perform same sex marriages if they disagree yet the LGBT community is asking that we have the same opportunities and privileges afforded with marriage. For instance, being partnered for over a decade I would like to go visit my partner and make medical decisions if he’s medically disabled and I believe we’ve both earned that right and responsibility.

Additionally, I believe that we have built our lives and future together that we should be able to decide what happens to it should God forbid something happens to one of us.
That is what this fight is about rather than buying a chicken sandwich.

- Submitted by Lawrence Webb, former council member for the City of Falls Church

Jeremiah August 07, 2012 at 05:26 PM
I certainly can respect this position. I am in an interracial marriage - however I understand the comparison is not valid. I would caution how you state "Who is to say what traditional marriage is? Marriage is a union between two individuals expressing their love, honor, and respect for one another. We do not have to look back to far in our history when interracial couples were considered contentious much like same sex couples are viewed today" Within your statement you ARE defining what marriage is: you are defining marriage as a union between two individuals expressing their love, honor, and respect for one another. What if there are more than two individuals that love, honor and respect one another? How about two adolescents? What if one person does not love the other (arranged marriages are not typically entered into by "love")? Whose definition of respect and/or honor are you using? Be careful in trying to redefine something that we have no business in defining, as Dan Cathy said in his statement. I am not trying to be flippant, however, the statement is treading on thin ice, to say the least.
Eric Jeffrey August 07, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Your error is in saying that marriage is defined by anything other than civil law. Religious rules are irrelevant. There are still places of worship that will not perform/recognize interracial marriages. In point of fact, marriage existed well before any any recognized religion. Resort to religious beliefs is also unavaililing not just because there are many religions with different positions, but also because that is contrary to current law. The Bible, for example, authorizes polygamy, and indeed on a global basis polygamy was the dominant mode until recent times. While one may refine the proposed definition, it is irong to reject its fundamental premise that marriage is a civil right conferred by law, and to discriminate based on sexual orientation is just as reprehensible as discriminating based on race. Either both is OK or neither is. Your parade of horribles is silly. The law may distinguish betweem adults and juveniles, as it does in hundreds of respects. And although polygamy is lawful in many places and was the dominant mode of marriage for most of recorded history, there is no reason that the law cannot change that. Arranged marriages have nothing to do with the issue whether adults with adult capacity who want to get married should be denied that right due to sexual orientation. Mr. Cathy is wrong -- we do define and always have defined marriage for civil purposes.
Chuck Stein August 08, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Interesting that to hold to a 2,000 year view of marriage as a conjugal union between a man and woman, which view was held by the current President until his "evolution" on the issue just a few months back, is now "bigotry." If the term bigot can bandied about so easily--especially by people who presumably voted for said President in his "bigot" iteration--then I fear we have moved beyond a space where dialogue is even possible. At any rate, what this issue is all about is fascism, that is, the state's threat, whether carried out or not, to punish someone simply because their speech is deemed offensive. Had the President's former Chief of Staff, now Mayor of Chicago, and other big city pols not opened their mouths about banning the restaurant, this issue would never have arisen.
LH August 09, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Actually if you look back 2,000 years... that is NOT what marriage was. Check out a history book. Stephanie Coontz, for one, has written at length about it.
LH August 09, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Thank you for your thoughtful letter, Mr. Webb, and clarifying that this issue is not a matter of free speech.

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