Roy Steele is a gay male blogger, writer, queer activist, equality advocate, and anti-bullying evangelist. Jive in the  promotes gay LGBT civil rights and equality by analyzing the impact of politics, religion, and pop culture, on the gay community.
Today I read about another controversy that involves Chick-Fil-A and gay rights, and the ensuing right-wing backlash. I’ve never stepped one foot into a Chick-Fil-A because they hate our community, and doubt I ever will. Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, is a private institution. They asked students to complete a survey aboutdining options on campus, anddidn’t include Chick-Fil-A in the survey “based on the company’s record widely perceived to be in opposition to the LGBTQ community.”
Six years ago when he was trying to defend and justify Chick-Fil-A’s support of anti-gay groups, CEO Dan Cathy said, “I think 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’.” The CEO fails to see the hypocrisy in his statement. He’s doing the same thing he's criticizing. He knows what the definition of marriage is, and he will ignore the rule of law, and continue to support bigotry.
Let’s establish the facts.
The Facts About Chick-Fil-A:
Chick-Fil-A has a history of making charitable donations to anti-LGBTQ Christian organizations and hate groups that use lies and hate speech to spread misinformation and propaganda about the gay community.
Chick-Fil-A is a privately held Christian family business.
Chick-Fil-A has a Christian mission “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us.”
Chick-Fil-A stated “We have no policy of discrimination against any group, and we do not have a political or social agenda.”
Chick-Fil-A might not have a policy to officially discriminate, while they continue to make donations to religious organizations and charities that DO discriminate. By association they discriminate.
Chick-Fil-A does not have an employment non-discrimination policy, and can terminate an employee if they’re lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, or they’re perceived to be LGBTQ, in states that don’t have laws offering those protections.
Chick-Fil-A's Christian tradition embraces hate speech and discrimination, which has severe consequences on the mental and physical health of non-Christians and LGBTQ people alike. That should be enough to deter anyone's bad behavior, but has little to no effect on Chick-Fil-A, and they continue to represent anti-gay discrimination and hate.
I first became aware of Chick-Fil-A's controversial views in 2012. When I hear high profile business leaders publicly endorse anti-LGBTQ positions, it bothers me. Ignorant public statements can be harmful to LGBTQ kids, as it affects their mental health.
We presume that chief executive officers are hard working and smart. You'd think they would have empathy and compassion for their employees, and be sensitive to their corporate image and their messaging, because these issues affect the reputation of their brand.
The truth is publicly held corporations that have to answer to shareholders are much more sensitive to messaging and public relations, and privately held companies (especially a family business) don't care as much.
I wrote to Chick-Fil-A's CEO Dan Cathy in 2012. I reread the letter and it still applies today. The CEO didn't answered then, he's certainly not going to answer it now, and that's a shame.
I will continue to stay out of Chick-Fil-A restaurants and be a thorn in their side, until they stop supporting anti-gay organizations, adopt an anti-discrimination employment policy, and they welcome everyone with open arms.
I hope you'll stand with me.
Straight talk indeed.
Dear Mr. Cathy:
You recently appeared on the radio program The Ken Coleman Show, and you made some controversial and incendiary remarks that included your personal belief that you think marriage equality is challenging God’s definition of marriage.
I think 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.’
I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we would have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is all about.
I’m confused about why you personally think it’s audacious, as well as prideful and arrogant, to demand or expect equality.
Your personal beliefs and statements raise a few questions that I’d really like you to answer.
There isn’t ONE WORD about marriage equality in the Bible, so I challenge you to cite where God or anyone else condemns marriage equality anywhere in scripture.
Do you have a hotline directly to God? Has he spoken to you about this? What has God told you?
The institution of marriage has been evolving over hundreds of years. There was a time when a wife was the “property” of her husband, and the Bible has many representations that support this fact. As our culture has progressed, a woman is no longer her husband’s property. As such, marriage was redefined. How does God view that?
For many years women couldn’t charge their husband with assault, or rape. Since they were personal property, like a slave, they weren’t given legal standing in a court of law. As our culture has progressed, if a husband physically or sexually assaults his wife, he can expect to be arrested by the police and be charged with a crime. Again, marriage was redefined. How does God view that?
If you want to cite scripture to support your view, even though scripture never touches on marriage equality, what do you think of Leviticus (20:9)? In case you are unfamiliar with this passage, if anyone curses their mother or father they must be killed.
How about Leviticus (20:10)? In case you are unfamiliar with this passage, it says if a man is unfaithful to his wife, or a wife is unfaithful to her husband, they both must be killed.
Since the Bible was written, our society has evolved and we don’t kill anyone for adultery in this country. Marriage was redefined. How does God view that?
Hell – in Deuteronomy (13:6-10) it states that if a family member worships another God, you should kill them. In our society today, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Atheists and Agnostics live side by side. We are friends and neighbors, and in some cases a family member might have a different faith. We don’t kill someone for their religious beliefs. How does God view that?
In the United States of America we believe that all men and women are created equally. While you don’t share this view, and you think the LGBT community should be singled out and denied basic civil rights, how do you think God views that?
A better question is probably – how do you think God views you?
I’d like to remind you of Corinthians (13:1-3):
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Marriage has been redefined many times over the centuries, and it will continue to evolve and be redefined.
God wants everyone to love and be loved. At the end of the day - that’s what really matters Mr. Cathy – not your nonsense.
I’m not shaking my fist at God and telling him that I know anything more than anyone else. I’m shaking my fist at you Mr. Cathy – and telling you I know what the definition of marriage is – and if you would look beneath your bigotry, you might learn it too.
At the crossroads to the world in Times Square, Christmas shoppers and New Year's Eve revelers will be greeted by Citizens for Transparency's "No Gays Allowed" billboard. The gay rights champions implore people to STOP Alliance Defending Freedom by visiting NoGays.org.
Gay rights champion Citizens for Transparency shines a light on the gay hating Christian legal beagles who represented the aggrieved baker in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, with a big prominent billboard in Times Square. Laura Ingraham and Fox Snooze aids and abets this dark and sinister organization, by amplifying their message and spreading their insidious brand of anti-LGBT hate. Washington, D.C. – From the ‘gimme a gay break department’... The lesbian gay bisexual and transgender community is outraged by the verbal attacks and manufactured anger exhibited by a homophobic television entertainer and her guest, the double talking senior counsel for a Christian hate group. (The hypocrisy is stunning) Watch the video (embedded below) and judge for yourself. It’s a political attack ad commercial masquerading as a news story. You'll see a hate group's anti-LGBT propaganda go unchallenged, and yet another Fox Snooze show is a fact free zone.
Critical thinking is “the objective analysis of facts to form a judgment.” Whether we see a story on a television newscast, or read it in a newspaper, if verifiable FACTS are missing from the reporting, we must conclude that a story isn’t credible. That's what fake news is, and that’s exactly what we see here.
Laura Ingraham’s Ingraham Angle continues to magnify anti-gay right-wing propaganda and hate speech, and doesn’t allow gay activists to respond and appear on her show. She doesn't allow anyone to challenge her LIES.
Ten days ago Fox Snooze entertainer Laura Ingraham began an outrageous segment on The Ingraham Angle by alleging a conservative group was targeted with a smear campaign by a nasty leftist political group (of gay rights activists).
Ingraham has a series called ‘Defending the First’ where she supposedly exposes individuals and groups opposed to the First Amendment. The ‘First’ guarantees free speech, a free press, freedom from religion, freedom of religion, and bans the government from establishing a state religion.
I have no idea how often The Ingraham Angle airs the ‘Defending the First’ series. Consider that the biggest opponent of the First Amendment currently resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and we know the Trump News Channel disallows criticism of their patron saint. So much for free speech.
What’s this brouhaha really about? What does this Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) group do? I never heard of them. The LGBTQ rights organization Citizens for Transparency placed a prominent billboard in Times Square that says “NO GAYS ALLOWED” and “STOP Alliance Defending Freedom – Learn more at NoGays.org.”
Visitors to the NoGays.org website will find extensive research and documentation about Alliance Defending Freedom’s lengthy anti-gay and transphobic record, with links to research and news articles (aka facts) to support their conclusion that this organization actively promotes hate.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is a Christian-based legal organization founded in 1994 by thirty self-proclaimed ‘Christian leaders’. The list of founders reads like a who’s who list of prominent anti-gay purveyors of hate.
Gay Group's Times Square Billboard Slams Christian Cartel's Hate - YouTube
ADF’s work has largely flown under the national radar until recently. They assembled the Christian legal army that represented the Colorado baker in the Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case, before the Supreme Court.
ADF is an anti-equality organization. They oppose equality for women, and actively campaign to restrict a woman’s ability to make her own healthcare decisions. In spite of the Obergefell marriage ruling, they’re still against gay marriage and civil unions, adoptions by same-sex couples, and any anti-discrimination legislation to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment and public accomodation.
The billboard in Times Square highlights Alliance Defending Freedom’s long record of opposition to LGBT rights, and ADF doesn’t like it.
LAURA INGRAHAM: Time now for our ‘Defending the First’ series where we expose enemies of the first amendment, free expression, and free thought.
They played a role in 54 victories in front of the Supreme Court and have defended families and marriage, but now they’re being targeted by forces on the left in an effort to blunt their effectiveness.
The conservative Alliance Defending Freedom was targeted by this DISGUSTING billboard campaign in New York City’s Time Square.
She said they played a role in 54 Supreme Court victories. What does 'played a role' mean? Criminal defendants sometimes 'play a role' and win Supreme Court cases. Does 'playing a role' in a case legitimize their mission? Nope.
In ADF’s marketing and promotional materials, they claim to have “played a role” in 54 Supreme Court victories. If “playing a role” includes filing amicus briefs (any individual or organization can a file friend of the court brief in a Supreme Court case) to support or oppose a case, they’re inflating and overstating their influence. I suspect that’s what’s happening here, and Ingraham gets an 'F' for not explaining where this number came from.
Ingraham isn’t a journalist and isn’t held to the same standards as a journalist (just like entertainer Sean Hannity). She doesn’t feel any responsibility to stick to the facts, and said the Times Square billboard is disgusting. What most LGBT people find disgusting is any organization that believes we are second-class citizens without any rights. That's what ADF believes.
When she introduced ADF’s senior counsel Jeremy Tedesco, she told him she has a gay brother. I don’t know if she was trying to establish credibility with viewers at home, or if she was warning him. Who was she was pandering to? (If you have an idea or want to speculate, let us know in the comment section)
She said “Jeremy I have a gay brother and I love him very much, so I didn’t like that sign at all. I thought it was hideous. That was a group opposing your group – what’s going on here.”
Ingraham does indeed have an estranged gay brother. If she has an ounce of respect for him or his friends, or LGBT people at all, she’d be disgusted by ADF. Why was this ADF promotional video so one-sided? Why didn’t she invite someone with an opposing view to challenge them? I guess "fair and balanced" no longer applies.
We must expose ADF's lies to reveal the truth. Groups like ADF HATE the sunlight. The senior counsel said the "sign is preposterous” (not a factual statement – merely his opinion). Then he falsely asserted his legal organization is the most successful respected supreme court advocate in the country. That's completely UNTRUE. Hellooo! Ever heard of the ACLU?
Then he claimed they “protect everybody’s freedoms.” Aside from this being untrue too, if he’d said they protect a Christian individual’s right to discriminate, it would have been an honest answer.
Then he declared the billboard “completely misrepresents everything our cases are about.” Actually, the billboard is accurate and Tedesco's misrepresenting ADF’s record. He can say anything since every statement he makes goes unchallenged.
He described their client's as “creative professional clients” and falsely asserted “they serve everyone.” If that were true there wouldn’t have been the Masterpiece Bakery lawsuit and Supreme Court case. After saying ADF protects everybody’s freedom, their clients serve everyone, and we don’t discriminate, the doublespeak started.
JEREMY TEDESCO: They just can’t create art promoting every message. And that’s the most important thing. Jack Phillips we just won his case at the Supreme Court. He’s a cake artist. He declined to create a cake celebrating same-sex marriage.
LAURA INGRAHAM: Would you represent a gay group if their first amendment rights were being violated.
JEREMY TEDESCO: Well absolutely. We we we we we (note: he stutters and stumbles here) support the rights of everybody. Our wins...our wins are for everybody.
LAURA INGRAHAM: They should know that.
Who is they? Who should know what? I nearly wet my pants from laughing at this point.
ADF does NOT support gay people’s right to marry, or any LGBT rights at all. Our community knows about ADF. We’re aware of their mission to dehumanize and denigrate us. Hence the charge “No Gays Allowed” is more than appropriate.
Hate groups and anti-LGBT rights organizations are very much alive and they keep fighting to deny us our rights. It’s sad but true that there are dark forces opposed to gay rights, transgender rights, women’s rights, gender equality, racial equality and social justice. They are against equality period. ADF is one of many anti-equality organizations in the United States.
The biggest mistake we make today is to allow these political organizations to define these arguments as right versus left, because it’s a false representation of the issues. How we treat and respect people is a moral issue, not something to debate in the public square.
Equal rights and equal protection under the law is guaranteed by the Constitution. If anyone mistreats someone or discriminates and denies someone service due to sex, race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity, they’re breaking the law and there are consequences for that.
Tedesco maintains that the “free speech and free exercise and conscience rights we protect, are rights that we all benefit from.” That statement goes unchallenged too. ADF fights for a Christian’s rights - not gay rights. They demand tolerance for their religious views, while they’re intolerant of our very existence.
LGBT people don’t benefit from anything ADF stands for. In fact, ADF is opposed to First Amendment rights for the gay community. It’s fascinating that Fox Snooze and Ingraham fail to recognize their hypocrisy.
LAURA INGRAHAM: The Southern Poverty Law Center figures in here.
Some Republicans despise the Southern Poverty Law Center, because they’ve rightly classified several right-wing organizations as “hate groups.” Ingraham clearly has no respect for the SPLC.
The Southern Poverty Law Center largely put the Klan out of business, and both the ADF and the Klan are hate groups. Does Fox Snooze give the Klan free air time? Nope. But they give it to ADF. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is one of the most prominent civil rights organizations in the country. SPLC has opponents and detractors on both sides of the political spectrum, because they track and expose political extremists.
SPLC rose to national prominence in the late 1970’s and 1980’s because of their overwhelming success in courtrooms to fight and eliminate racist organizations affiliated with white supremacists and the Klu Klux Klan.
That work led to the creation of their Intelligence Project to monitor and track hate groups and extremists. If an organization has “beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics,” they might be classified as a hate group.
In addition to their legal work related to civil rights, the SPLC is considered to be an authority on extremism and hate in America, and they work with the FBI and train law enforcement agencies about extremism. A recent Christian Science Monitor news article noted the “Southern Poverty Law Center’s annual list of extremist groups in the United States is often seen as an authoritative survey of racist and anti-government activity.”
Right-wing organizations who object to their inclusion on SPLC’s list of extremist organizations falsely claim an anti-conservative bias. The SPLC publishes their criterion for being classified as a hate group, and being “conservative” isn’t one of them.
What now Batman?
Hate group or not, any attacks on someone’s sexual orientation, and attempts to abridge us of our civil rights due to bigotry, will be met with our fury. ADF has earned the right to be publicly shamed in Times Square.
When will people accept it’s impermissible to attack a sexual minority? No one chooses to be gay. Our choice is to live an unfulfilling and oppressive life in the closet, or to come out and live out loud.
ADF may find limited success in a courtroom, and I can promise we’ll fight them tooth and nail for as long as they oppose our existence and humanity. Their singular pursuit to deny us our rights under the guise of religious freedom will further alienate them from mainstream thought.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness isn’t preserved for just Christian folks, it’s for all Americans, and that’s a fact I can prove.
Too bad ADF can’t do the same. They’re pretty pathetic. Find out the facts when you visit nogays.org and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Stand up and fight back against Christian terrorists. People's lives depend on it.
Top Row (left to right) Gov. Kate Brown (D-OR)*, Governor-Elect Jared Polis (D-CO), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)*, Senator-Elect Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) Middle Top Row (left to right) Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI)*, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY)*, Middle Bottom Row (left to right) Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA),* Representative-Elect Sharice Davids (R-KS), Representative-Elect Angie Craig (D-MN), Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI)*, Bottom Row (left to right) Representative-Elect Katie Hill (D-CA), Representative-Elect Chris Pappas (D-NH), Associate Justice Lidia Stiglich*, State Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara (D-CA) *Incumbent
Three states elected their first LGBT member of Congress (Kansas, Minnesota, New Hampshire), and the 116th United States Congress will have a record number of LGBT members (10). Two LGBT women are U.S. Senators, and nine LGBT representatives will serve in the House. Two of our nation’s governor’s are LGBT, while the first transgender major party nominee for governor lost, and two LGBT candidates for governor won.
There were at least 399 LGBT candidates for offices at every level across the country, and with several races still undecided, at least161 candidates won. Rainbow wave anyone?
Many pundits say this is the ‘year of the women’ and I don't disagree. The first two Native American women were elected to Congress, along with the first two Muslim American women, while Texas elected their first two Hispanic representatives, the youngest woman in history was elected to the House, and 123 women will serve in the next Congress.
I strongly feel that we need to encourage more women to participate in politics and government, and more people of color and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, people too. Our government and elected officials DO NOT reflect the demographics of our population. Straight white old men continue to run everything, and that’s a travesty that needs to change.
Our country was founded on the principle of equality, and the Declaration of Independence even says “all men are created equal.” History reflects that we’re not all created equal. We have a ‘modern’ political party that’s committed to voter suppression and disenfranchising minorities. They cheat and get away with it. When you take that into consideration, it makes this year’s midterm election results even more remarkable.
Congressman-Elect Chris Pappas (D-NH)
After the disastrous 2016 election, I was apprehensive about the 2018 midterms. Luckily, MSNBC and CNN projected that Democrats would take over the House well before midnight west coast time, so I didn’t stay up too late watching the inestimable Steve Kornacki announce the results. The pundits wouldn’t characterize the gains as a blue wave on election night, as they didn’t foresee that the net gain would approach 40 seats.
Gay genius Nate Silver said the real story of the midterms was the record-breaking 60 million people who turned out to vote for House Democrats. If Democrats can expand their voter base further, and a sizable number of voters continue to flee the GOP, anything is possible in 2020.
About 60 million people turned out to vote for Democrats for the House this year. That is a **crazy** number. (Republicans got 45m votes in the 2010 wave.)
And this was sort of missed. Why so many stories about Trump voters in truck stops and not so many about "the resistance"?
To recap: A record number of Americans participated in the political process this year. A record number of Democrats won. A record number of Democratic women won. A record number of Democratic people of color won. A record number of Democratic LGBT people won
Even though Democrats didn’t win back the Senate, they won the House.
It was a blue wave after all.
High Profile LGBT Midterm Election Winners 2018Governor Governor Kate Brown (D-OR)* Governor-Elect Jared Polis (D-CO) U.S. Senate Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)* Senator-Elect Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) U.S. House of RepresentativesRep. David Cicilline (D-RI)* Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY)* Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI)* Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA)* Representative-Elect Angie Craig (D-MN) Representative-Elect Sharice Davids (D-KS) Representative-Elect Katie Hill (D-CA) Representative-Elect Chris Pappas (D-NH) California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara Nevada Supreme Court Associate Justice Lidia Stiglich* Transgender State Legislators Representative-Elect Brianna Titone - Colorado House (CO-27) Representative-Elect Gerri Cannon - New Hampshire House (Strafford-18) Representative-Elect Lisa Bunker - New Hampshire House (Rockingham-18) *Incumbents