San Mateo County District 5 (Daly City) Supervisor David Canepa has called for demonstrations and protests against the opening of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Redwood City (District 4). Without question, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy’s position opposing same-sex marriage is not mainstream. However, is that a good reason for Canepa to mobilize his supporters in a way that may pose a hazard to public safety? Even the ACLU, while disagreeing with Cathy’s position, still believes he is entitled to express it openly.
There may be a better way for Canepa to express his opposition to Chick-fil-A’s founder. Instead of promoting negativity, why not focus on positive advocacy for the LGBTQ community in our county? Let’s make sure everyone is welcome at the table. As LGBTQ folks are affected by the same problems everyone faces in San Mateo County, wouldn’t everyone be better served by improving housing, easing traffic congestion, helping the homeless, and cleaning up the environment in an equitable manner instead of picketing a restaurant?
When this controversy first emerged in 2012, there were nationwide protests and Chick-fil-A’s sales rose 12%. Even so, Mr. Canepa (who is running for re-election in nine months) has the right to openly oppose Mr. Cathy’s position while abstaining from eating at Chick-fil-A. If the Redwood City restaurant is unprofitable, then it will close. In the end, maybe Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s reflection about Chick-fil-A said it best when he remarked last March: “I do not approve of their politics, but I kind of approve of their chicken.”