In what Alanis Morissette would surely call “ironic,” famed gay activist Gore Vidal died on the very same day that Chick-fil-A held its anti-gay protests. (For those of you keeping score at home, Vidal -- an acclaimed author and political critic -- was actually bisexual, not strictly gay.)
Anyway, the whole thing started last month when Chick-fil-A’s president defended his company’s political support of anti-gay candidates, legislation, and propaganda. Worried that marriage equality is akin to “inviting God’s judgment on our nation,” Chick-fil-A has donated millions of corporate dollars to preserve the “biblical family unit.”
Naturally the liberal media elite in response went wild with calls to boycott, and naturally the response to that -- everywhere, but especially here in the “Bible Belt” where the chain was founded -- was to storm the restaurants in a show of homophobic solidarity. That’s how it came to pass that this past Thursday became “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” with thousands flocking (like a chicken, get it?) to eat at and support the fast-food chain.
Not one to miss a chance for waffle fries, and certainly not one to miss a chance to hobnob with South Carolina’s finest rednecks, I moseyed on down to a Grand Strand-area Chick-fil-A to talk to some of those who came out (I’m seriously on a roll) to protest the “coming out” of others.
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Below are snippets of conversations I had (and overheard) this past Thursday at the Surfside Beach Chick-fil-A:
Random man: “Homosexuality just ain’t natural and it ain’t the way God intended it. [Pointing to a box of chicken tenders as the cashier hands it to him.] Even them there chickens know that a boy chicken can’t go with another boy chicken.”
Me: “But actually homosexuality exists in all parts of the animal kingdom. Haven’t you ever watched the Discovery Channel?”
Random man: [Blinking.] “I ain’t never saw any gay sharks on ‘Shark Week.’ ”
Me: [Blank stare.]
Overheard: “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”
Random man #2: “It’s just too much of a slippery slope. If we let two guys get married, next thing you know we’ll have to let a guy get married to his dog.”
Me: “I kind of wish we were at McDonald’s so you could demonstrate that for me with some ‘Happy Meal’ toys.”
Random man #2: [Blank stare.]
Overheard: “If homosexuals have a problem with not being allowed to marry other homosexuals, they should just quit being gay and be like the rest of us.”
Random woman: “When we lose our morality we lose our way as a country. The government has to save us. That’s why I’m a conservative Republican.”
Me: [Blinking.] “Oh. I thought you were a conservative Republican because you believe the government shouldn’t tell us what to do. Don’t Republicans believe in less government and not more government?”
Random woman: [Blank stare.]
Overheard: “Why is it so crowded here today? They must be giving away free food or something. Heck yeah!”
Random woman #2: “I work hard for my money. I don’t want my tax dollars paying for a wedding between two men.”
Me: “I didn’t realize that supporting marriage equality was the same thing as paying for the actual wedding. But either way, wouldn’t a wedding for two men be pretty cheap? I mean, suits are a lot cheaper than gowns. Maybe that could reduce the deficit and end up saving you some taxes.”
Random woman #2: [Blank stare.]
Overheard: “If gay people want to get married, they should move to Canada. They allow anything up there.”
Random woman #2: “Give me one good reason why I should be OK with letting gay people marry each other.”
Me: “Who else would they marry if they didn’t marry each other? I mean, that’s kind of the point.”
Random woman #2: [Blank stare.]
Contact Mande Wilkes, a local cultural commentator, at m@mande wilkes.com.