Friday, July 04, 2008

"Pro family" group wants to boycott McDonalds over gay issues


On Wednesday, July 2, while visiting the Education Center at Mount Vernon, I met a young man with a USMA t shirt and girl friend. (This happened right in front of a display talking about how a gentleman in colonial Virginia "marries well" and joins the Freemasons.) He looked perfect, and I quizzed him – yes, he had just graduated from West Point, and could be deployed to Iraq in about a year. I asked about the Point and he said that 17% of the senior class was female. I didn’t get specifically into “don’t ask don’t tell” but I felt like the encounter anticipates what will come into debate: the DADT laws as is has no place in our military personnel policy.

Now, on to the morning paper. Frank Ahrens has a story on p D01, Business, of The Washington Post, July 4, “Gay-marriage Opponents to Boycott McDonalds”, link here. My first thought was to snicker and remember Bill Clinton’s liking for big Macs early in his presidency, when DADT was being hotly debated.

It sounds as thought the American Family Association (http://www.afa.net/ -- try afa.org and you’ll see how important the last tld of a domain name can be) is play whiner by demanding that McDonalds remove itself from the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. The petition even has a separate web domain here. The news story points out that some companies have cut back on ads and might stop the relationships with the GLBT markets and simply cite the economic downturn. However, the AFA makes some sort of statement about the company’s supporting “the homosexual agenda” and claims that it is not trying to pressure McDonalds into firing gay employees. (Remember Cracker Barrel?)

The AFA and other “pro family” groups have “pulled off” boycotts or attempts before, against Ford and Walt Disney. They have threatened baseball teams for allowing “gay days” at their ballparks. As a whole, the track record for the effectiveness of these consumer boycotts (after all, that’s the free market) is underwhelming.

It’s well to ponder what they really “want.” They are challenging a cultural climate that has removed a lot of the support for the emotional climate of family life, and the right of families to demand emotional and psychological loyalty of the still unmarried, which they see as essential to long term sustained emotional commitments of marriages engaged in raising children.

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