Setting aside anger for something that I hope is a little more kind. (Or: when I break my own law)

A few days ago, I Twittered: "I can't stop laughing at the bigots who celebrated their solidarity with each other by gorging themselves on shitty fast food. Bravo, jerks."

I still think it's silly that eating at a fast food restaurant is considered political activism today, but that's not what this is about. What I said clearly struck a nerve with people who were really angry with me for saying that, so I did what my friend Tom Merrit advised me to do: remove the charged language, and see what's left behind. After a couple of days, it became clear that a number of people genuinely did not see themselves that way, and they were hurt by the language I used to describe them. I've thought about this a lot, and this is what I have to say:

It’s all too easy to forget that there’s a human being on the other end of the Internet. That human being has a name. That human being has friends and family; hopes, fears, and dreams. The person behind those words and that avatar is loved by people, and that person loves them in return.

It’s far too easy to lose our basic humanity and compassion for each other when we forget this. In my recent righteous anger, I’ve forgotten that, and though the people I’ve recently disagreed with have infuriated me, when my white hot anger fades, all that remains is sadness that we can’t speak to each other in a civil way.

So today I am setting aside my anger, and trading my recent mocking derision for something I hope is more kind.

To the people who are so angry at me: Whoever you are, whatever you believe, I hope that you’ll find someone you love and who loves you, and share a quiet, peaceful moment together. I hope you’ll appreciate the love you share, and if you’re a heterosexual couple, be very grateful that tens of thousands of people didn’t get together in the last few days to tell you that the love you feel is not just wrong, but it’s evil. It should be marginalized, and you should be a second-class citizen because of it.

If you can imagine that feeling — I mean, viscerally imagine it and think how it would make you feel — you may understand why I’ll fight with my dying breath to ensure that no two people ever have to feel that. I believe that it’s fundamentally wrong to prevent two people who love each other as much as Anne and I do the right to marry and be treated the same way in the eyes of the law and society as we are, simply because they are a same-sex couple.

Now, I’ve learned something in the last couple of days: I saw a clear statement of solidarity with a man who has spent millions of dollars supporting hate organizations that work tirelessly to restrict the rights of same-sex couples. But what I saw was viewed by a not-insignificant number of participants as a statement against censorship, an affirmative statement for the rights of an individual to express an unpopular opinion. They fully support the rights of same-sex couples to marry, but feel even more passionate about freedom of expression; they weren’t there to support this man’s goals and beliefs, they were simply there to support his right to have them.

On the one hand, I believe that requires a willingness to ignore a simple equation: You buy fast food -> fast food profits go to CEO -> CEO gives money to hate group -> hate group lobbies for laws that hurt same-sex couples. Therefore, your participation in an event organized and promoted by people who support those laws gives your support to them and the laws they hope to pass.

On the other hand, I have to believe that — even though it’s clear from interviews with many of the participants that they did view this as solidarity with the owner, and was not about the Constitution — at least some of the people who ate what I called “shitty fast food” did so because they genuinely believed they were standing up for someone’s right to express an unpopular opinion.

To those people who viewed this not as a statement of solidarity with that man’s opinion, but his right to express it – and those people alone – I apologize for labeling you as a bigot. You were shoulder to shoulder with a lot of them that day, but if you genuinely believed that you were standing up for someone’s right to express an unpopular opinion, and you weren’t there because you were supporting that same person’s efforts to deny same-sex couples the rights heterosexual couples take for granted by spending the money you gave him on that day, I sincerely apologize for putting a label on you that was hurtful. I imagine there are some same-sex couples who watched lines stretch down the block outside a chicken restaurant that day who can relate to that feeling.

For what it’s worth, I never supported mayors telling a restaurant it couldn’t open in their cities for political reasons — that’s unconstitutional, stupid, and wrong. I believe very strongly in the rights of individuals to express unpopular opinions, but I also believe even more strongly that people who love each other have the fundamental right to marry, and in this case, especially considering the millions and millions of dollars this man has spent trying to deny same-sex couples that right, I hope his unpopular opinion has negative consequences for him and his company. I hope that the incredible number of people who turned out to give him time and money will give an equal amount of time and money at a homeless shelter, or some other organization that desperately needs that time and money to help people who are suffering.

But I’ve veered slightly off track. My goal today is to clarify in more than 140 characters why I feel the way I do, and sincerely apologize to people who were certainly with a lot of bigots, but don’t believe they are bigots themselves. Words can be hurtful; ask anyone who’s been called a faggot or a dyke or worse for holding hands with the person they love.

But for now, Person Who Is Angry With Me, I’m going to step away and spend the day with my wife and our sons, and be grateful that there isn’t a very wealthy man spending the money he earns with his very profitable and popular fast food restaurant trying to make us less of a family.

148 thoughts on “Setting aside anger for something that I hope is a little more kind. (Or: when I break my own law)”

  1. I think if any of the people who said they were there to support free speech ALSO would show up to a Pride March, waving a flag, I might be convinced that they’re not bigots in hiding. I support his right to free speech, but I’m sure as heck not going to give them any money.
    On a related topic, I’ve been reading the Ender’s Game series for a few months, and while searching for the order of the Shadow series, stumbled upon Orson Scott Card’s wikipedia page and the news that he’s on the board of the National Organization for Marriage. It made me first desperately wish that I’d taken them out of the library instead of buying them. And now I’ve gotten to a point, later in the series, when a gay man marries a woman, happily, because the meaning of life is to have a child with a woman. I’d like to trust the art, not the artist, but I can’t help but have a bad taste in my mouth. Something like crappy fast food.

  2. Wil, you’re still missing it. I honestly don’t know anyone who went to Chick-Fil-A that day because they are string fans of “traditional marriage”. If it had been nothing but a reaction to Dan Cathy’s opinions it would have been a much smaller event.
    What got so many people’s ire going were the actions of the Mayors of Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco threatening to use the Government to prevent Chick-Fil-A from opening stores in their cities. THAT is a threat against the First Amendment. Even the ACLU agreed.
    Now, let me give you a little hint: you’re an actor and writer. I’m a recovering actor and writer. If the government has the power to deny us equal rights with someone based on something we wrote or said, then that hits us where we live.
    Yes, you were being a dick. Good on you for noticing. But you’re still being a fool.

  3. Absolutely there are rights being denied the LGBT community. What is being done to them in the cases of simply visiting a sick loved one is an atrocity. However, mutating the term marriage is not one of those rights. It’s insensitive (ironic isn’t it) to a great many people. To some it’s as offensive to refer to a gay person as being “married” as it is to call a black person that one word. There are lots of offensive terms being used against the LGBT community, and they don’t like it, so why do they think being just as offensive back is the right solution?

  4. I think you’re confusing hate and anger. When people prevent you from having equal civil rights anger is a perfectly reasonable response. When people who claim to be in favor of gay marriage go to a protest in which the proceeds will be donated to groups that fight gay marriage anger is perfectly reasonable. It’s a false equivalency to compare people who are saying that I am sick or diseased and so shouldn’t have the same rigths as everyone else to me calling people bigots because they are trying to prevent me from having those same rights. I’m still not sure you get it and maybe you never will–but you need to realize that it’s not the same.

  5. Eats at Chik-fil-A claiming to support free speech. The money he spent at Chik-fil-A claiming to support free speech is then donated to anti-gay groups who are working to prevent gay people from achieving equal rights.
    Being called a bigot is nothing compared with being a second class citizen.
    “LGBT friends, but has friends who happen to be LGBT (there’s a difference.” A nonsensical statement. Go ask your friends who “happen to be LGBT” if they see this great difference. Ask if they’re okay with you eating at Chik-fil-a and having that money be donated to NOM. You live in a real world and your actions do effect your friends who “happen to be LGBT.”

  6. “if you’re a heterosexual couple, be very grateful that tens of thousands of people didn’t get together in the last few days to tell you that the love you feel is not just wrong, but it’s evil. It should be marginalized, and you should be a second-class citizen because of it.”
    A non-apology if I ever saw one.
    1) The event was more in reaction to Leftist bullies (Bloomberg and others) trying to persecute a CEO for holding an opinion using government force- that is a form of fascism.
    2) People have a right to express their own opinions- even ones you disagree with, and each individual has a right to shun you if they so choose
    3) The push for Gay Marriage isn’t about having equal access to a civil contract. Its about trying to use government coercion to force others act as you think they should, in complete disregard for their rights of association. If the majority thin your relationship should be marginalized, getting a law that says otherwise won’t change that.
    4) Most Gay Activists I have met want these things for revenge – to get back at those “haters” and make that plain as day. They have no interest in Marriage as such, or in playing by the rules of that club. If it makes people who don’t like them uncomfortable or angry, the mission is accomplished.
    5) If you are interviewing someone for a country club membership, and the first thing he does at the interview is start wacking off and spouting crude language, you probably don’t approve the membership. Marriage is the same way. The day I see Gay men walking in a Pride Parade in Business suits and demanding respect, is the day I start taking their request seriously.
    You are free to love and be with anyone you want as far as I am concerned. You are entitled and have a right to do so. However you are not entitled to the Approval of others, via laws, a civil contract, or otherwise, and fascist attempts to force such are both futile and will be met with the derision and marginalization they deserve.
    If you want to change people’s minds, then treating others with respect is a good place to start, and walking around naked in parades and offending the sensibilities of others ( no matter how righteous your cause) is not going to garner the results you are after. Characterizing your opposition mindless haters is not a good place to start. When this debate started I was sympathetic, but the behavior and tactics used have convinced me that I don’t want these people in my club. Ever. If that makes me a “hater” so be it. Homosexuals as a group (and their supporters (that is you Mr Wheaton )act like dicks.

  7. Ok, so you hate Chick-Fil-A because they don’t support Gay Marriage. And you hat them enough to take action to show your dislike of their position.
    Can you show me your posts, tweets, comments from 2008-2011 when the President of the United States held the same position? That “traditional marriage” was the only accepted answer, you openly opposed him right?
    No?
    Ok, well he’s just the President of the United States; I can certainly see that you’d expect better political messaging from a Chicken Sandwich than the President.
    I agree; I think that Obama is less useful than a Chicken Sandwich as well; I just didn’t realize so many liberals agreed with me.

  8. I just love the people who preach “no hate” but scream and yell and vandalize and wish bad things on someone who believes something that is different from you. Look, i dont give a crap who you marry but its telling that the first reponse of those of you who support same sex marriage, like its a religion, is flipping out like a child when someone doesnt agree.
    Chik Fil A protests were about free speech and you whiny arrogant doofae telling everyone what they must believe.
    As for your original statement Wil, you just outed yourself as a typical hollywood tool who lives in a bubble of like minded intolerance.
    If i was you, i would take to Twitter, call you and your ilk haters, unsubscribe from your youtube channel, and walk around with an indignant stick in my ass for the rest of the day, for even having to accept your tiny minded existence on MY planet….
    Instead, ill continue to enjoy your show, Tabletop, and ignore you otherwise as to not ruin the enjoyment you bring me when doing what youre actually talented at, being an entertainer.

  9. “I think Chick-Fil-A should be ridiculed, hell even banned.”
    Right, ban people for the wrong opinion; especially the wrong religious opinion. If you don’t drive out the unbeliever how can we achieve the goal of Theocracy.
    The GLBT communities always thrive under a Theocracy; so smiting the unbeliever with the power of government is the clear precedent we need to make here.
    Boycott all you want; protest, speak out, oppose them. But the minute you start supporting the Government oppressing people with the “wrong” opinion you’re going to get a lot of push-back. Because that is a stupid, dangerous, and harmful path you’re stepping on; and I’d like to avoid walking to the end of it.

  10. So you investigate every major shareholder of every company you’ve ever done business with?
    No? then it’s possible, in fact likely that you have funded “bigots” as well. So you’re also evil right? Not only that, you’re lazy and evil for not doing all the necessary research to make 100% certain that you’re never ever under any circumstances funding anyone who you might disagree with politically.

  11. “But for now, Person Who Is Angry With Me, I’m going to step away and spend the day with my wife and our sons, and be grateful that there isn’t a very wealthy man spending the money he earns with his very profitable and popular fast food restaurant trying to make us less of a family.”
    There is. Buffet, Soros, Obama and every other wealthy democrat spend lots of money and propose laws that try to make my family into the leftist idea of a “model family” – on welfare, and dependent upon your betters for every little thing, and entitle by the govt to the work of others- a form of slavery. They spend lots of money trying to get rid of “Bitter clingers” like myself – you believe in limited govt, individual liberty and Voluntary transactions in a free market.
    And the “unpopular” notion we are discussing here is Gay Marriage. It has been voted down by a Majority, almost every time its be put to a vote. That makes YOUR opinion the unpopular one, Mr Wheaton. You have the right to hold that opinion. You don’t have the right to use govt force to impose it on everyone else. I have an inalienable right to be a “Bigot”, Mr. Wheaton. So does everyone else. If Gays wanted equal access to a civil contract, they would have taken “Civil Unions” and been done with it. After all a rose by any other name would still be a rose, right? But what if you are not a rose, but want to be mistaken for one? Then you insist on calling it Marriage. What if you want to force people to treat you like a rose, when you are not one? Then you insist on calling it “Marriage”
    The only victory Gays could actually win is actually being seen and accepted as roses, but they do NOTHING at all to fight that hard battle, preferring fascist tactics and coercion to actual acceptance.
    The Irish were once marginalized and treated as second class citizens. They are not anymore. Understanding that change could prove instructive for the Gay community, only they aren’t interested. “Bigotry” isn’t permanent, but holding a gun to people’s heads and demanding that they “Accept” you, because being “tolerated” isn’t good enough isn’t going to win any converts.

  12. “As for eating there being about freedom of speech? I call BS, or at least a lack of understanding. Opposing an opinion does not mean that one wants to silence that opinion.”
    And when the Mayors of three large cities threaten to use the power of the government to block any commercial activity from someone with the “wrong” opinions… that’s not a free speech issue?
    Cities should be allowed to have an “acceptable opinions” clause for all citizens wishing to do any commerce in the city?
    And you think this will help the LGBT community to have “community opinion standards” that must be followed by anyone wishing to engage in commercial interactions?
    I’m not sure you’ve thought this one through; but don’t let me stand in the way of setting a precedent the bigots can then use to oppress you.
    That door swings both ways; unlock it if you want; but don’t come crying to me if it breaks your nose.

  13. You’re right. Anger is perfectly reasonable. Overreacting may even be perfectly reasonable, as long as it’s not extreme (like shooting someone), and you realize it and correct it afterward – like Wil did. We all make hasty decisions that we regret. I don’t know how many times I’ve suffered from foot in mouth syndrome. And believe me when I say I feel like crap afterwards, not realizing until it is too late that what I had said might have been taken as insensitive (even though it was not my intent at all). What I’m saying is you don’t have to stop fighting for what you believe in, just respect others beliefs – because what you think you know about them is probably not true. What I’m saying is dialogue like you and me are dialoguing. You mentioned things in your last post that didn’t cross my mind. If they didn’t cross my mind then chances are they probably haven’t crossed others’ minds either. Letting others know in a civil way only gains respect. Letting others know in an accusatory way only gains more conflict – especially if the other side is as passionate about their views as you are.
    As far as me not getting what you have said – you may be right about that too. I can understand both sides of the coin in this situation. I’m not going to play the blame game because I know I don’t have all the facts. I do want to stress that this discussion has brought to light some things I didn’t take into consideration previously; however there are things that were not brought up here that are very important to me that I feel you are not considering. And one of them is what I have been trying to say all along. Can you possibly try to understand why the other side might feel slighted? Yours is not the only side to the coin. That’s what I’m trying to get across to you. I know you feel hurt and that’s perfectly understandable. Anger is understandable and quite frankly expected if someone is hurt. But hate develops when someone is too stubborn to see that there is actually another side and that their side is the only possible one to support. That side may be right and that side may be wrong, but I think you need to understand the motivations behind those that chose to support the “chicken chain that shall not be named”. They may not have gone to support Cathy. They may not have gone to support his beliefs. They may not have gone to support anything other than their need for nourishment (as, let’s face it, there are those that don’t really keep up with the news – although I’m sure it was a tiny fraction of the total). They may have gone there to support something you never even considered yourself. And yes, you may be right that all of that was not as important as your own cause but consider the fact that those people do feel differently. And the way you approach it makes all the difference in the world. It could mean anything from getting another to see what they never really considered and quite possibly not doing something so stupid again, to getting another so enraged that they will never listen to anyone on your side and continue to fan the fire of conflict. We may not have a choice as to what we are, but we do have a choice as to how to play the cards we’ve been dealt. It’s a struggle to be sure, with both wins and losses. And it seems (in my case anyway) that there are more losses in life than victories. But that is not going to stop me from trying to better myself. Even if others may seem like they want to tear me down. Because I know that all is not what it may seem.
    If you feel that I still don’t get it, then alas you’re probably right. If that is the case, I really wish I did. But like I said, I don’t have all the facts, and I may never understand. But at least I’m trying.

  14. What is it exactly that you think I should be getting about the other side? They want to prevent me from having equal rights. My being able to marry my partner of 15 years will not impact their lives in any way–and yet, they want to prevent me from doing it. What exactly do you think I am missing?

  15. I don’t have to investiage every share holder, but when I am aware that they are trying to take away my rights I will certainly try not to do business with them. And you, who feels, apparently that gay people should just take it and allow people to trample on our civil rights accuses me of being lazy? I don’t have to do business with people who try to deny me civil rights–if you don’t care about other people’s civil rights you go on ahead and do exactly what you’re doing.
    If you get really offended at being called a bigot–you know what? There are worse things–like not being able to visit loved ones in the hospital. Like being denied equal protection of the law. You may not see this as an issue but that’s only because you are privileged and entitled in this country. I hope your rights are never infringed on and I hope that if they are no one tells you that you’re lazy.

  16. My 2 cents..for what it’s worth (which really may not even be 2 cents):
    I am a Christian. I didn’t go to CFA on whatever day that “eat in” was at all. My sister is a part of the LGBT community and married her (now wife) last year on Oct 1st…I participated in the ceremony (I was her matron of honor) and have always supported her.
    I responded to Wil’s tweet as disagreeing with what he was saying based on the fact that I didn’t like those Mayors saying they would Ban CFA from “their” cities. That’s just wrong.
    All that being said. It’s highly likely that at some point in the future I will eat at CFA. Mainly because I don’t really base my patronage at ANY business on political, religious, or any other beliefs…I base my patronage simply on whether the product is good or not.

  17. You still don’t get it.
    Many who ate at Chick-Fil-A were there to support someone else’s freedom of speech and not what that someone had to say. Because when you launch a jihad against the freedom of speech of someone you disagree with you launch a jihad against the freedoms of all of us.
    Finally, if you insist on persisting in talking about the dignity of gay activists (who want to legalize gay marriage) and speak about civility in the same sentence, you might want to google “Proposition 8 Retribution” first. I think you’ll get my drift.
    It’s not enough to be human being. You must work towards becoming a decent human being.

  18. You’re invoking a “law” (which is actually just an internet fad)based the espousing of an lawyer who fancies himself as a modern-day philosopher? A lawyer??? LOL You might as well of told me that you are giving up the debate. Same thing. I didn’t even know who this Godwyn is. I had to research him. That is how important or popular he is with the mainstream (sarcasm intended). Please, I would no more subscribe or be bound by “Godwyn’s Law” than I would expect an atheist to subscribe or be bound by Christian law. (isn’t there a “law” that states that in any debate “Christian law” will eventually be brought up?) Besides, I could have easily used Idi Amin, Joseph Stalin, Caligula, Ho Chi Minh, etc. as an example instead of Hitler. To use a petty thing like “Godwyn’s Law” undermines your ability to effective rebut my viewpoint. Of course, it doesn’t really address my point. So…
    NO…thank YOU for playing! ;)

  19. Words.. words… sorry. Thanks for playing.
    Invoking Hitler violates one of the prime sacred rules of internet debate. You have crossed a hyperbolic line to which your point is no longer valid.
    Good day sir.

  20. You can see what you can see in me. What I am is a guy who thinks that dialog, discourse, and debate is good for any issue. It does not matter how ugly or uncivil it gets as long as there is talk about it. Both sides and their staunch advocates REFUSE to understand the other. I try to live in the middle in a war between the left and the right who are determined to destroy each other. Sometimes I play Red Cross to the intellectual dead, dying, and wounded; but most times I open fire on both sides. Why? Because I want everybody to wake the fuck up and also because there aren’t many places to duck for cover in the middle. It’s sickening to have an ideology war when there needs not to be. I never sat down with anybody at Chick-fil-A. I ate there on the Saturday beforehand while I was shopping. I was alone and spent no more than ten minutes there. I ate and left. Boom, my support for free speech was done, next issue. As far as “damn good sandwiches” go, I’ve had better. As far as Wil’s initial comments go, I was pissed but let it go. I respect a person’s opinion, even if it is to insult me indirectly. Sticks and stones, right? No, I came here to comment back to Wil about his apology (I’m sure you’ve read that by now as has everybody since I seem to be the cause celebre on this post right now). I found ill-informed (IMHO) comments by other members and decided to try to set the record straight. You can say I like to argue, and this may be true to an extent. It is the ill-information and the misrepresentation of the facts that makes me want to “argue.” I believed I went to CFA to support free speech, can you prove that I went there to believe otherwise? Or can you truly prove other people’s intentions? Am I trying to prove how right I am? Well yes if everybody is trying to prove how wrong I am. Listen, nowhere in any of my posts, comments, or anywhere on the internet have I tried to convince a person who opposes me to change to have my viewpoint. I thrive on talking to people who have opposing viewpoints. I really hate… okay, maybe hate is not such a good word to use in here…don’t like people who constantly agree with me. I don’t want followers, I want contemporaries. I want people to disagree with me and say that I’m wrong. Let’s talk about it. As far as you view of CFA goes, it is your right to want them ridiculed. However, you must get up the power to have them banned. Wishing they were banned is just not enough. More to you if you get that power. As far as Dan Cathy, getting sodomized, who knows, he might like it once he gets into a rhythm. (okay, shut the hell up, Shane)
    And, as far as whiskey goes, not for me. I’ll take some Patron and a Dos Equis or Killian’s.

  21. Hate speech is not the opposite of free speech. One is an emotion, there other is an ability. Rather, hate speech would be the opposite of accepted speech.

  22. Personally, I think the blocking of markets is BS, too. That goes too far. That said, Brattleboro, VT* put the issue of big box stores to a public vote. There was one Home Depot in town at that time, and the citizens didn’t want any more big business. They preferred smaller stores. The vote overwhelmingly said so. No box stores allowed. So, maybe we should vote on such things? People do have a right to decide what business is conducted in their town. Look at communities who ban liquor sales or strip clubs. Is that right? I don’t know. Probably not from a strictly constitutional view, but from a public opinion standpoint, it is. But it should not be up to government to decide such things, but the people. If someone opens a business that is contrary to the will of the people in that area, the people will not support it, and the business will fail, so this takes care of itself. Government should not intervene.
    I don’t know the “right” answer here. All I know is that there is no easy answer to things like this, and I’m glad I’m not the one who has to decide such things. It’s got to be one tough job.
    *Of course, it was legal to be nude there until 2007, so take that for what you will. ;)

  23. Even if it were up to the person to define what “harmful” speech is, the person has relatively no power to enforce a ban on it. Only a government or controlling body can do that. As far as I know, the government only bans free speech when it interferes with public safety, as like the often used example I cited above.

  24. Excuse me, but how is Wil a “coward” by standing up for what he believes?? How is he a “coward” for writing a retraction when he believes he was partly wrong?? A true “coward” would never stand up for a cause, let alone admit when he may have been wrong. And a true “coward’ resorts to name calling, like “coward,” and empty rhetoric instead of having a thoughtful and rational viewpoint. How is he backtracking, as well? Wil does not need to backtrack. He has enough people interested in what he says, along with enough fortification in his life to be comfortable with his own lot as well as be able to withstand any criticism for what he says or does. Do us all a favor and provide us with a shining example of how the right-wingers do far more for society that liberals do. That is except for telling us how they take care of their own or benefit foreign labor with OUR jobs. I digress, though, as this was not really an economic rebuttal. It is true that a lot of liberals are a “small bunch of small-minded loons” who live in the same bubble as the same could be said about right-wingers. As far as liberals being “jackbooted,” I’m sorry, but what did Reagan and the Bushes do for civil liberties. Or shall I say “against?”
    Please come back when you find someone who can be your ration and intelligence. (sorry, I’m insult slumming right now) It can even be someone who shares your ideology as, contrary to popular belief, there are rational and intelligent people on the right, too.

  25. Do you even know why I made the distinction of “having friends who happen to be LGBT?” It’s because sexuality never came up when we befriended. Common interests did. That’s why I won’t ask them about their views on Chick-fil-A, because it would evoke, and put the spotlight on, their sexuality. It’s not that either us cannot deal with it, it’s just that it is not an issue. Do you know why a lot of non-religious people cannot stand LGBT?? It’s the perceived “LGBT agenda.” Do you know why that is? Because a lot of vocal LGBT members put their LGBT status first, the content of their characters second. Instead of saying “I’m gay, accept me!” why don’t LGBT members say, “I’m a person that is good and I have a lot of common interests. Accept me?” After that then let the LGBT factor come into play, if needed. For a lot of mainstream, on the fence people who are wary of LGBT it is not about the fact of being LGBT, it is about bad public relation, so to speak.
    As far reply to your Chick-fil-A bit, ertdfg took my words, so I will not duplicate.

  26. *Yawn* Eww, I broke one of your “sacred” rules. Oh, dear me. I guess that I’m just gonna have to sit in the corner and have a time out. Get real! I live in the real world where real debates and rebuttals happen. These debates include such accepted things as hyperbole, what they don’t include is made up things like “Godwyn’s Law” or “prime sacred rules of the internet.” The internet is something that is used to facilitate day to day real world life, and may even be used to escape from it for a short while. It is not to be lived in, however.
    Yeah, it is best that you say “Good day” as it’s obvious that your rebuttal well has run dry and you should take your leave. As they say, “you can’t keep playing if you ain’t got no money left.” Thanks for a brief, but swell, run, though…..

  27. Anytime someone expresses an “unpopular opinion” and gets backlash for it, they love to hide behind “free speech” to justify the shitty things they say. The fact is, free speech protects you from the government taking action against you for your opinions (so mayors trying to use zoning laws to prevent them from opening their restaurants IS unconstitutional). However, freedom of speech does NOT mean freedom from consequence nor does it remove the rights of others to express their opinions on the matter (a mayor sending a letter to the CEO of Chik-Fil-A requesting they not open a restaurant in their city is absolutely constitutional and within the realm of freedom of speech). So they can tout “free speech” as a defense all they want, but that doesn’t mean they won’t or shouldn’t experience consequences from the American people. Protesting, boycotting, creating hyperbolas and satire videos is a consequence of their free speech, and is also protected by free speech.

  28. I think I am having trouble getting my message across. I’m not talking about people against you having equal rights. I have no idea who they are, although I know some of them took part in the lines on Wednesday. I’m talking about the majority of people on that particular day supporting the business. I’m trying to say they don’t all want to take your rights away. I’m trying to say that it’s not simply an LGBT issue. If it was, I doubt there would have been that many people participating. It encompasses much more than the issue you think it does. I’m trying to get you to think outside the box… why would people want to support Cathy other than denying someone else equal rights? If you can’t think of any, or worse, if you don’t want to think of any, then it’s moot to try and dialogue further. If you do want to know why people may have come out in droves that day but just can’t think of a reason – I can help, but this is just a combox on a blog and I don’t want to have a continuing conversation here.
    Can we possibly take this conversation somewhere else, like email or some other neutral forum to dialog on?

  29. A very pathetic non-apology. All “I, I, I, me, me, me! You’re the ones who made me say that!” In truth, Wil, YOU are the bigot. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you can correct it.

  30. The idea that freedom of expression was at stake in this situation is 100% wrong. Accusations of intolerance against people who have criticized someone’s stated belief are baseless and illogical.
    Others above me have already expressed it better.
    I would simply add that I have observed the right wing co-opting the language of anti-discrimination to wield as a club against those who criticize them, as though their beliefs are just as immutable as ethnicity or gender. My response to this is that beliefs are the farthest thing from immutable. Beliefs are CHOSEN. Untrue or harmful beliefs MUST be criticized. To not express disagreement with people who are, to be blunt, WRONG, would be irresponsible of people who know better.
    To clarify: when I say “belief” I refer to a specific statement of an individual’s position on a specific issue. I am not saying that discrimination against religion is okay. Religious discrimination, like racial discrimination, is judging a book by its cover. It’s unfair. It is, however, completely legitimate to discriminate against an individual for a SPECIFIC statement of personal belief they have made, because then you’re not making an assumption about what they believe. They’ve told you.

  31. You know what I find disappointing? Wil followed his heart and came here to write and clarify what he was trying to say and to apologize to a particular group of people for his words and the hurt they caused, which takes courage.
    I find it disappointing that people would have the audacity to tell him he is wrong, that he shouldn’t have apologized.
    If more people on both sides of this would step off their high horses there would be dialog. But not while those involved try to destroy those that disagree with them.
    There is no more debate on the merits, there is excoriation of character, there is no more LISTENING, only screaming, there is no more understanding (regardless if you agree) there is only demanded capitulation.
    It used to be that you could have a strong debate with someone, and maybe it got heated, but when it was over there was still basic respect for the other person as a human being. No more, if you disagree you are a FAGGOT, or you are a BIGOT.
    It is sick how unhumanly (not really a word, but it gets the point across) we treat our fellow humans.

  32. Wil,
    You should not apologize for your remarks, unless you don’t actually believe them.
    Nobody should have gone to the Chik-Fil-A “buycott” to support free speech, if they were they were even bigger idiots than I thought simply based on how long a wiat they endured for crappy food.
    See, the government was not censoring the CEO over his beliefs. What about those mayor comments? Like so much other political drivel, it is entirely impotent. They can’t deny permits based on clash of opinions. It is very similar to gun control legislation, the people who are going to shoot other people with guns are not going to be stopped because a law says they can’t buy that gun in Kmart, or can’t get it for seven days, or whatever. It is just sound bite crap designed to fool the ignorant sheep who voted for them into thinking they are working hard at upholding their promises, when in reality they are doing nothing of the sort.
    People who went to Chik-Fil-A on that day were supporting an opinion, not the right to have an opinion. If you believe that denying the right of marriage to homosexuals is bigotry, then say as much and don’t back down from it.
    I don’t care one way or the other about gay marriage. I’m straight and married to a woman and so if two dudes want to get hitched I don’t see how that affects my life one way or the other.
    What does bother me is people activley trying to limit rights from one demographic when the application of that right would not harm anyone. To me that is patently un-American and contrary to everything I believe, stand for and swore to fight, kill and die for when I enlisted in the military.
    To the Tea Party, please stop using the name of a treasured historical event as well as the Gadsen for your symbol. Politics and politicians have done a number on this Great Nation, and everyone who is that involved should be ashamed of the results up to this point.
    To people who are confused what to do, a vote for Republican or Democrat is taking a path to oppression. Vote for yourselves in the write in slot, send the message to D.C. that you care enough to vote, just not for them. Only half of teh eligible voters bother to vote at all, so the status quo is upheld unless people bother to vote for someone else.
    To the LGBT people, stop ragging on Cathey and his fast food joint. He was honest about where your money goes if you eat there, so now you now not too(as if the quality of FF and health concerns weren’t enough already) Making so much noise will intimidate and silence other people who feel the same way, people whose buisnesses you still frequent. Allow them to show themselves so you can spend your money somewhere else.

  33. Shane,
    You need to drop the freedom of speech angle. Those mayors do not have the authority to ban Chik-Fil-A or any other business from their cities based on opinions, religion or feelings. If someone applys for permits there are laws on the books that govern the details, it isn’t a personal decision.
    I bet you would also find that in large cities like Chicago the mayor’s office has nothing to do with commerce in that fashion, there are boards full of people who are independently voted into office. It was all about sound bites, all the way around.

  34. Wil, thanks for being awesome.
    I fully support the bigoted jerk his right to spend his millions on whatever cause he likes, and to openly declare it as he chooses, but I won’t be eating at CFA. I think it’s a shame that he has such hate for GLBT that he spends this kind of money on fighting our right to marry each other — something that is, generally speaking, born of love — rather than on something a little less BIGOTED like maybe feeding the hungry or curing the sick or whatever. But hey, it’s a free country and he made the money himself, so I have no control over what he chooses to do with it.
    Do I investigate every single business I frequent? No. But if I do know this kind of information about a business, I don’t spend my money there, just like if I find out that someone I know (and maybe even like) is a bigoted jerk, I don’t hang out with them anymore.
    So a bunch of teabaggers, wackos and bigots (and apparently some people who don’t mind supporting hate while they uphold freedom of speech, if a reportedly delicious chicken sandwich is involved) flocked to CFA for a few days. Big deal. The furor will die down and these morons will stop driving out of their way to get their lunches at CFA. Meanwhile, a whole bunch of GLBT folks and supporters of same have been educated as to this hate-mongering fool’s opinions and will NEVER eat there. I’m okay with that.
    Eight years ago I was taken to the ER in an ambulance. I specifically instructed the 911 operator to tell my partner where to find me. They left her a voicemail asking her to call. She did, and a different operator answered — and wouldn’t tell her where I was. Why? Because we are not allowed to marry. She wasn’t considered a relative. I sat alone in the ER for hours while she tried to find me. She was terrified — there was blood everywhere in the house. This is how we should treat one another?
    So eat your damn sandwiches and spew your damn hate, by all means, in your constitutionally protected way, but as for me and mine, we will eat elsewhere.

  35. Very well put! I always find it amazing that so many people spend so much time, money, and effort to deny others that which they themselves enjoy. And yet children go to bed hungry in this “1st world” country every day. Children live in homeless shelters. Children wait years to be adopted. Where is their time, money, and effort in this regard? After all, do they not care about the “FAMILY” that they so vociferously defend to the detriment of others? The United States of America will not be the “Home of the Brave” and the “Land of the Free” until we are Brave enough to let everyone be Free!

  36. I read every comment before posting my own, so my apologies if this is muddled. There’s a lot in my head right now.
    1) This is not just about marriage equality. Some of the groups supported by CFA profits work to make it LEGAL TO KILL SOMEONE FOR BEING GAY IN UGANDA. At this point, screw marriage equality- CFA supports MURDER. Hopefully the “free speech” proponents did not know this, or I’m appalled at their priorities.
    2) While I can understand it being difficult to respect LGBT activists as a group based on the actions and volume of a few of us, please try. You don’t like us thinking all Christians are hateful bigots due to the percentage who hide their hate behind the Bible, so please attempt to give us the same respect you want.
    3) Civil Unions do not grant ALL the same rights and privileges as marriage. If they did, and all State-overseen unions were civil unions, and all unions overseen by a religious institution were marriages, regardless of the gender of the parties involved, fine. Anything less is discrimination and akin to other “separate but equal” laws- ultimately, they are not equal and don’t work. History has proven this.
    4) To the person (I don’t remember who, now) who says LGBT people must accept that there will be casualties- fuck you. How dare you suggest that it is somehow “okay” for ANYONE to be injured or killed fighting for what should be fundamental rights. I should NOT need to choose between being alive and around for my children and trying to make the world a better place for myself and said children.
    5) To the person (again, don’t remember who) who doesn’t think LGBT people should lead with the fact that we’re not heterosexual. Guess what? For every friend I have who thinks I’m an awesome person and couldn’t care less about my sexuality, there’s someone I can’t be friends with because of my “choice”. It’s far better to know that up front than to be hurt (emotionally OR physically) later on. Perhaps, once a non-zero portion of society grows up enough to stopped being squicked out about bedroom activities, we can all just be awesome people and not have to have our sexual activities matter except to those we’re having sex with.
    6. Affect/effect, you’re/your, cities/city’s. For the love of Cthulhu, people, if you want to be taken seriously use English correctly!!

  37. Very well put! And I think you should have the screen name Cthullha-Queen of the apostrophe’s! (Just kidding, yes, I know…)

  38. Hi, Wil. @davidrupp from Twitter, here (in case you couldn’t place the name). I’ma let you finish blocking me on Twitter, but I just wanted to say that I’m disappointed that you found it necessary to do so. Unlike some of the other d-bags that participated in that discussion, I actually respect your position on the issue, even though I don’t necessarily agree with you in all the particulars.
    You see, I’m one of those people at the other end of the Internet whom you think you know but you don’t really. If you did, you would recognize something like a kindred spirit — a forty-something stepfather of four kids, now aged 16 – 26. A gamer. A geek. An actor. A writer. An aficionado of good beer. And more.
    Do we have some differences? Most certainly. They might even keep us from actually becoming friends if we were in a position to do so. Who can know? But the point is — you don’t know me.
    So you don’t like what I had to say and you blocked me. Totally your right. I just thought you might like to have some perspective on the real person at the other end of the Internet.
    Peace.

  39. Cannot say I totally agree with you here Wil. See the issue of Freedom of Speech is valid, everyone rightly has the free will to say that which they choose, without worry of any reprisal from the Government. Dan Cathy can say what he wants to, and did when interviewed by the Baptist Press. Here is where we disagree, you feel that Dan Cathy is telling everyone their love is wrong, and that he is attacking them. Rather the opposite is true, Dan Cathy humbly gave his thoughts with an answer of Chik Fil A being “very supportive of the family” meaning “supporting the biblical definition of a family unit.” Now immediately we have seen the harsh reaction to such a statemtent, solely because he is a man of certain power (in wealth, and consumer base.) However this is his personal belief, and one that indeed carries over to the principles of the Chik Fil A restaurant, since they have special “children’s days,” “tie-dye shirt coloring days,” and video game nights.
    But never once have I heard an attack by Dan Cathy or anyone that works at Chik Fil A against anyone who is not apart of a traditional family. Have you? Wil says Dan Cathy donates money to oppress the Marriage Equality cause, well I have never heard of that? Does he really sway elections with his Chik Fil A winnings, really? Last I heard, I think for myself, as do many on the other side of the internet, Wil.
    I believe in Marriage standing as it has been since we invented it, as being for a Man and a Woman, who choose to be together for life and start a family which will continue on for generations.
    However I am also of the belief that we are all made uniquely and if others who do not wish to join in traditional marriage (man and woman) would like to join together for life, for better or worse, then they should be able to do that with each other. However I do not feel their expressing and solidifying of vows should be called Marriage. How about another name, that is all that is up for debate here, from what I can see; a name. I don’t see the angry men throwing cash at their causes, I see miscommunication and missed opportunities for progression rather than name-calling.

  40. Cannot say I totally agree with you here Wil. See the issue of Freedom of Speech is valid, everyone rightly has the free will to say that which they choose, without worry of any reprisal from the Government. Dan Cathy can say what he wants to, and did when interviewed by the Baptist Press. Here is where we disagree, you feel that Dan Cathy is telling everyone their love is wrong, and that he is attacking them. Rather the opposite is true, Dan Cathy humbly gave his thoughts with an answer of Chik Fil A being “very supportive of the family” meaning “supporting the biblical definition of a family unit.” Now immediately we have seen the harsh reaction to such a statemtent, solely because he is a man of certain power (in wealth, and consumer base.) However this is his personal belief, and one that indeed carries over to the principles of the Chik Fil A restaurant, since they have special “children’s days,” “tie-dye shirt coloring days,” and “video game nights.” I have not seen any discrimination at a Chik Fil A, and it seems like very well run fast food joint, with some excellent waffle fries or carrot and raisin casserole.
    And never once have I heard an attack by Dan Cathy, or anyone that works at Chik Fil A, against anyone who is not apart of a traditional family. Have you? Wil says Dan Cathy donates money to oppress the Marriage Equality cause, well I have never heard of that? Does he really sway elections with his Chik Fil A winnings? And I don’t take my election advice from Dan Cathy anyways, last I heard, I think for myself, as do many on this peculiar, other side of the internet.
    I believe in Marriage standing as it has been since we invented it, as being for a Man and a Woman, who choose to be together for life and start a family which will continue on for generations.
    However I am also of the belief that we are all made uniquely and if others who do not wish to join in traditional marriage (man and woman) would like to join together for life, for better or worse, then they should be able to do that with each other. However I do not feel their expressing and solidifying of vows should be called Marriage. How about another name, maybe Sniklefritz or something better than simply, Marriage? I mean, that is all that is up for debate here folks, a name! I don’t see the angry men throwing cash at their causes, I see miscommunication and missed opportunities for progression rather than name-calling.

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