Ken Connor

Dan Cathy, President of Chick-fil-A, probably did not expect to be at the center of the storm of the gay marriage debate, but his company proved an unexpected financial beneficiary of the controversy.

Cathy, President of the Atlanta-based restaurant chain, is a devout Christian and tries to operate his company based on Biblical principles. Chick-fil-A is one of the few fast food chains that remains closed on Sunday in honor of the Sabbath. Because of Cathy's public stance in favor of traditional marriage and his foundation's support of some pro-family groups, gay rights activists urged hungry consumers to boycott the business and punish Cathy in the pocket book for his religious convictions.

The boycott boomeranged on the gay community. Mike Huckabee, Fox News talk show host, encouraged people to show their appreciation for Cathy and his company by frequenting his franchise last Wednesday. The response was overwhelming and Chick-fil-A boasted record sales because of it.

Apparently, there are a lot of hungry people who like traditional marriage and their chicken too.

In retaliation, the gay community promoted a "kiss in", encouraging same-sex couples to kiss one another at a Chick-fil-A restaurant. Perhaps, they hoped their conduct would be deemed so repellent it would scare away Chick-fil-A customers and the company would feel the pinch of their protest.

It didn't work.

I am all for people voting with their dollars. I have no problem with people declining to engage in commerce with those with whom they disagree over political or cultural issues. I have participated in more than one economic boycott myself over abortion. Americans are free to associate with whom they choose. It's one of our cherished rights protected under the First Amendment. That's why the comments of the mayors of Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco in reference to this controversy were so troubling.

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.