Earlier this year during the Texas legislative session, Republican lawmakers sought to give government officials, licensed professionals, businesses, and others the right to discriminate against LGBTQIA+ individuals through Senate Bill 1978.
The bill, which conservatives deceptively coined the “Save Chick-fil-A” bill, had little to do with Chick-fil-A. The bill sought to redefine religious freedom, take power away from local governments, and allow for discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
Yesterday, Chick-fil-A announced plans to stop their longtime funding of anti-LGBTQIA+ organizations, after years of effort by LGBTQIA+ activists.
There’s been speculation as to whether Chick-fil-A will actually stay true to their word, given their history. But either way, some folks celebrated the decision as a step in the right direction for the company.
Others, on the other hand, were not happy. Gov. Greg Abbott, for example, took to Twitter to voice his disapproval and exposed his homophobia once again.
I'm headed to Bill Miller's tonight.https://t.co/2u2VrquGjn
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) November 19, 2019
This is the same governor who couldn’t get enough of Chick-fil-A just a few months ago.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 21, 2019
It seems Texas Republicans are only in favor of lawmaking for businesses when those businesses use their money to hurt marginalized communities.
All Texans should be disturbed by Abbott’s homophobia.
Chick-fil-A’s donations do not directly impact Texas conservatives. But the company’s funding of anti-LGBTQIA+ organizations was harmful to the queer community. See the difference?
Unfortunately, that distinction doesn’t matter to Texas Republicans because the cruelty is the point.
Abbott and others who supported the “Save Chick-fil-A” bill and are now angered by this news are just looking for an excuse to cry foul and lament about “attacks on religious freedom.”
Not only is their indignance over the whole ordeal tiresome, but it’s also hypocritical considering just a few months ago, they were on the opposing side trying to justify Chick-fil-A’s decisions and arguing that the company should be allowed to donate to whatever organizations it wants.
The fact is, people took issue with Chick-fil-A supporting anti-LGBTQIA+ organizations. And while that was Chick-fil-A’s choice, Texans chose to exercise their rights to criticize and protest the company’s decision. And it is now within Chick-fil-A’s rights to choose to support other organizations, or not.
This is a win for queer Texans and a testament to the power of holding corporations accountable.
Chick-fil-A’s announcement is cause for celebration. Not to bolster the company for making the right decision after years of funding anti-LGBTQIA+ organizations, but to acknowledge the work of LGBTQIA+ activists who worked to hold Chick-fil-A to account.
This win is a reminder that individuals can wield power over large companies. Meanwhile, the response from Abbott is a reminder that Texas Republicans are still working against the interests of queer Texans.
The newly formed LGBTQ Caucus said it best in their response to Abbott’s tweet:
— @txlgbtqcaucus (@txlgbtqcaucus) November 19, 2019
While Texas Republicans continue to encourage discrimination and harm queer Texans with their words and actions, progressive Texans are building power, and we’re on a path to equality in 2020.
We hope Abbott enjoys his Bill Millers. We’ll be picking up Popeye’s for lunch in celebration of Chick-fil-A’s “change of heart.”
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