Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Chick-fil-A controversy reveals major debate

By Seth Nidever | The Hanford Sentinel

HANFORD — Who would have guessed that a chicken sandwich restaurant would dominate the national conversation?

That’s been the case with Chick-fil-A, the national chain that made headlines when CEO Dan Cathy said he favors the traditional definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.

He commented that he prays for “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.”

Cathy’s company financially supports groups that oppose gay marriage. That, together with his comments, set off a firestorm of protests, boycotts, counter-protests and — on Friday — a “kiss-in” by gay groups at Chick-fil-A locations, including the restaurant in Fresno.

The whole flare-up seemed to spotlight a deep divide among Americans on the question of whether marriage should be extended to include gay couples.
But the debate raises a series of other important issues, too, including religious liberty, free speech and what is really meant by separation of church and state.
There is no shortage of local opinions on Cathy’s comments, Chick-fil-A and the whole situation.

Somebody with a unique perspective is Buzz Felleke, a Christian businessman who runs B&D Quality Cleaners, Rebekah’s Espresso and Joshua’s Roasting Co. in Lemoore.

Felleke shares Cathy’s views, and does so openly.

“The basis of society is family, and the way God designed the family is husband and wife with children,” Felleke said. “When we divert from that, the family structure is eroded.”

Felleke said he’s not concerned about backlash against his businesses.

“My source is not people. My source is God,” he said. “I have to believe in spite of the consequences. My belief doesn’t change.”

But for many gays, it’s a clear-cut civil rights issue. If heterosexual unions are given a superior legal status over same-sex unions, gays see that as discrimination, pure and simple.

“Marriage is a civil act, not a religious act,” said Chris Jarvis, president of Gay Central Valley, an organization that started the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center in Fresno. “We are not a church country.”


  1. Congrats on another dig at another organizations event. Can not wait to see what you have to say to the paper about Reel Pride or the pride parade. Chris Jarvis says the pride parade had a low turn out and gay central valley strongly disagrees with the film festival films that were selected this year. Try to LIFT the community up. the other side drags us down enough already!

    1. Please do not make up statements by me or anyone else. I never said anything about the Pride Parade or Reel Pride. In fact I and our organization fully support those events year after year. See more below.

    2. So you deny you made bad comments about the local event on facebook and by that the group who did it. Funny I did not hear you deny that. I get your emails and don't see you doing any good for anyone but you. Selfish selfish selfish

    3. Dude, you need to lay off the crack.

      GCV didn't say anything bad about the event.

      You don't think running the LGBT center or the bracelets are good things? Now who's dragging us down?

    4. Yes, I deny I did any of those things. There's no point to this...if you don't know what I've done for the LGBT Community in Fresno over the past seven years, all volunteer, such as founding Gay Central Valley and opening and operating the Fresno LGBT Community Center, just to name two things out of thousands, then you clearly don't know your history. You obviously don't know anything about me.

    5. Saying I'm on crack, real mature argument. I'm out. I should have known sharing my opinions would get no where with this group

  2. Steven, are you on crack? There was no dig at anyone. So what Chris was concerned about it being counter productive. You don't know when he was interviewed. It wasn't a bad thing and this blog already posted about the rally being positive. Abd no one has said anything about reel pride. ??????

  3. Steven, to start with, the Kiss In was a national event, not a local event. There are many, many people, including those on national blogs who thought a different kind of protest would have been a better way to go. That's just my opinion. I thought I was entitled to it. Also, Gay Central Valley helps sponsor the Fresno Pride Parade every year and we are financially sponsoring Fresno's Reel Pride Film Festival this year, as we have also done in the past.

  4. As anyone who's ever been interviewed by the media knows, not everything makes it into the article. I went on to say I felt our energy would be better used by patronizing LGBT friendly businesses, rather than a Kiss In outside national chains, but protests come in all kinds of variations. And again, the Kiss In was a national event, not a local one. Simply a difference of opinion in strategy. This is why Gay Central Valley has been publishing all we can about how we as a community can help out supportive businesses.


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