Chic-fil-A is making waves. Not for any hateful comment, but for admitting that it supports traditional marriage.
Now, I do have something to say about gay marriage—hardly shocking for a blog inspired by the Catholic faith, but first let’s address our relationship with businesses and social issues.
1) Why gay marriage?
Why is this question enticing so many companies to take a stand one way or the other? Why haven’t companies come out opposing human trafficking and dedicating money to stop that? Or why isn’t abortion the focal point? And I really mean this question. If we’re looking at the gay marriage question as indicative of a culture war and how the business views things broadly, why isn’t the issue abortion? It’s arguably just as controversial, divisive and cultural. I really am curious to the answer to this. (Also, no one seems to give Chic-Fil-A a hard time for being closed on Sundays, though few people observe the Sabbath themselves).
2) Is it the proper role of businesses to take positions on social issues?
Maybe. Maybe not. It does make sense for entrepreneurs to keep tabs on issues affecting their product. For instance, Starbucks sells coffee. It makes good business sense for them to trade ethically with coffee growers and promote this issue. Or Chic-fil-A, it makes sense for them to be concerned about the treatment of animals, particularly those that are in their product—chickens.
But should corporate social issue advocacy extend beyond this? I don’t think so. I understand that business owners are individuals who have the right to support or oppose causes. They can do that as private citizens just like the rest of us. To me, it seems unnecessary to politicize purchasing by aligning brands with social causes unrelated to their product or service. Continue reading