On Sunday, the city of New York marked St. Patrick’s Day with its historic parade – but this year, Mayor Bill De Blasio was missing. The reason: parade organizers have banned political messages, including pro-homosexuality messages. The same situation unfolded in Boston, where Mayor Martin Walsh boycotted their St. Patrick’s Day parade over organizers refusing access to a gay group.
Is all of this due to some latent or overt homophobia on the part of parade organizers? Of course not – pro-lifers and National Rifle Association members cannot carry banners for their causes, either. Ireland’s head of government, Enda Kennedy, has said, “The St. Patrick’s Day parade is a parade about our Irishness and not about sexuality, and I would be happy to participate in it.”
But apathy is not good enough when it comes to the radical gay bullies who now insist that every event carry the stamp of their movement. And so sponsors like brewer Sam Adams in Boston and Guinness in New York pulled out of the parade. Guinness pulled out after radical gay groups threatened to march to Stonewall, a historically important point for the gay rights movement, and pour vats of Guinness into the streets. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation quickly praised Guinness’ move, with CEO and President Sarah Kate Ellis stating:
Today, Guinness sent a strong message to its customers and employees: discrimination should never be celebrated. As a gay mom who has fond memories of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, it saddens me that I can’t give those same memories to my own kids because my family isn’t welcome. Hopefully, as parade organizers realize that anti-LGBT discrimination is not supported by sponsors, or many Irish New Yorkers, they’ll see that families like mine should be part of the celebration.
This has become the raison d’etre of many in the gay rights movement: destroying the businesses of those who refuse to abide by their standards of conduct, all in the name of tolerance. And they’ve been tremendously successful at it. Here are the top five recent instances of successful gay intimidation of business:
Duck Dynasty. When Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson told GQ magazine that he thought homosexuality was sinful and did not understand it personally (his exact words: “It seems like, to me, a vagina–as a man–would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical”) and had the temerity to paraphrase the book of Corinthians, the gay left went into action.
A&E suspended Robertson after GLAAD got involved. GLAAD representative Wilson Cruz slandered Robertson as a bigot and even went so far as to call him a fake Christian. Only after national blowback was Robertson reinstated – and only after the Duck Dynasty family supposedly agreed to meet with homosexual advocacy groups. “We’ve received assurances also that the Robertson family is now open to working with African-American and LGBT people to address the real harm that such anti-gay and racist comments can cause,” said Fred Sainz of the Human Rights Campaign.
The Boy Scouts of America. For years, the Boy Scouts of America have been under assault for their policy of not allowing openly gay scout leaders; the organization changed its policy in January 2014 to allow openly gay scouts. The Boy Scouts’ decision to back off its previous policy banning “open or avowed” homosexuals across the board followed both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney ripping the Scouts during the 2012 election cycle, as well as national food chain Chipotle announcing that it would remove its support for the Boy Scouts.
But that capitulation with regard to gay scouts has not appeased homosexual advocates, who have taken their fight to the Boy Scouts’ sponsors. In February, Disney World announced it would no longer sponsor the Scouts over their ban on openly homosexual scoutmasters.
Chick-Fil-A. In 2012, Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy stated:
We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that… We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that. We intend to stay the course. We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.
Despite the fact that Chick-Fil-A served gay people throughout the United States, gay groups began a national boycott against the chain. Mayors Thomas Menino of Boston and Rahm Emanuel of Chicago announced that Chick-Fil-A was not welcome in their cities. San Fracisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee tweeted, “Very disappointed #ChickFilA doesn’t share San Francisco’s values & strong commitment to equality for everyone… Closest #ChickFilA to San Francisco is 40 miles away & I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer.”
The intimidation campaign had its predicted effect: Jim Henson Company dropped its relationship with the company, and the company itself reportedly stopped giving money to charities against same-sex marriage, although the company disputed that report. Its 2014 tax returns showed a marked decrease in company support for such charities.
Arizona SB 1062. In the wake of court rulings across the country forcing religious businessowners to service same-sex weddings – a Christian bakery in Oregon, a Christian florist in Washington, a Christian wedding photographer in New Mexico – the legislature of Arizona felt it worthwhile to reiterate the legal standard for religious freedom in the state. To that end, the legislature proposed a bill that would have reaffirmed an affirmative defense to court cases filed against religious businessowners, in which religious businessowners could claim legitimate religious expression as a rationale for refusing service. That right, of course, was trumped in the bill by state action “in furtherance of a compelling government interest” if such state action is “the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling government interest.” The bill did not allow religious businessowners to discriminate where Arizona law had prevented such discrimination in the past.
Nonetheless, the media, alongside gay rights groups, went to work on crafting the lie that Arizona’s law was a new form of “anti-gay” Jim Crow. With that lie in mind, the NFL quickly speculated that the law could cost the state the Super Bowl, and major corporations including Apple said that the law could stop business from entering the state. Other corporations including American Airlines and Intel quickly joined that group. So Governor Jan Brewer (R-AZ) caved, vetoing the law.
Proposition 8 Supporters. In the aftermath of California’s enshrinement of traditional marriage as the standard in the 2008 election, gay rights groups began targeting supporters of the measure. Leaving aside major protests against the Mormons and the Catholic Church in California, individuals and businesses were targeted, including but not limited to:
- Scott Eckern, California Musical Theater: Eckern lost his job after donating $1,000 to the Proposition 8 effort. After resigning, in an effort to buy off his detractors, he pledged $1,000 to the Human Rights Campaign. He released a statement: “I understand that my choice of supporting Proposition 8 has been the cause of many hurt feelings, maybe even betrayal. It was not my intent. I honestly had no idea that this would be the reaction. I chose to act upon my belief that the traditional definition of marriage should be preserved. I support each individual to have rights and access and I understood that in California domestic partnerships come with the same rights that come with marriage. My sister is a lesbian and in a committed domestic partnership relationship. I am loving and supportive of her and her family, and she is loving and supportive of me and my family. I definitely do not support any message or treatment of others that is hateful or instills fear. This is a highly emotional issue and the accusations that have been made against me are simply not true.”
- Richard Raddon, Director, Los Angeles Film Festival: He was forced to resign after the Film Festival essentially denounced him for donating to the Proposition 8 campaign.
- El Coyote Restaurant: Marjorie Christoffersen, manager of the restaurant, is a Mormon who donated a whopping $100 to the Proposition 8 campaign; the restaurant was picketed.
- The Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego: Owner Doug Manchester had the gall to donate cash to Proposition 8. That bought him boycotts.
Corporate America fears controversy. The militant gay rights movement understands that well, which is why it targets corporations for political blowback when businessowners get involved in politics, even tangentially. Conservatives have historically been wary to engage in the same tactics. But as the left has demonstrated, the tactics work. The only question is whether the right will continue to play by Marquess of Queensbury rules.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.