Consumer boycotts are one of those things everyone loves so long as the boycotters are on their side. A decade ago, country music fans--who, surprise, tend conservative--got pissed when the Dixie Chicks insulted President Bush on the eve of the Iraq War while they were touring in Britain, and launched a boycott of the Chicks' music. I suppose they were largely successful--not that I follow the country music scene closely, but I haven't heard peep about that group since then. However, this might have also been caused by the fact that the Dixie Chicks' music truly sucked so terribly that it could be used to kill weeds.
Flash forward to 2012--a fast food chicken chain that I'd only first heard of a couple years ago called Chick-fil-a has also made the news. Its founder, Dan Cathy, stated in an interview that he's a supporter of "traditional marriage"--which means of course opposing gay marriage. This shocked me--who would have imagined that a super-Christian type who closes all of his chicken outlets on Sundays to observe the Sabbath would not be supportive of same-sex marriage? I'm not thrilled with Cathy's public statement on this matter, as I consider any marriage among adults that don't involve shotguns (except as entertainment for the receptions) to be perfectly fine. Others who share my sentiments, however, are launching a boycott of the chicken chain.
Boycotting of course is anyone's right--and if you dislike the public statements made by a business' owner as well as the donations he's reportedly made to anti-gay marriage groups, it's your right to not do business with him/her. (And of course, sad attention-succubus Sarah Palin has every right to go on supporting Cathy's business. Is there really any doubt at this point that Palin is a liberal performance artist doing a sendup of everything wrong with the right wing? It's like Stephen Colbert but most people don't get the joke) And just to prove that idiocy isn't confined to the right wing, Chicago Grafter-in-Chief Rahm Emanuel has threatened to block Chick-fil-a from opening stores in his town, arguing that Cathy's values are not "Chicago Values".
News flash, Rahm--no one ever says "Chicago values" without using quotes, as the city is notorious for corruption, police brutality, crazed hippies, and a murder rate that makes people want to escape to peaceful Detroit. Saying that someone does not have "Chicago values" is not an insult, you boob!
Plus, we're now crossing the line from private individuals deciding where not to spend their money to the government actually using the power of the state to punish someone for their personal views and public statements. (Keep in mind that at no point is anyone arguing that the restaurant chain is engaging in discriminatory practices--only that the owner said some noxious things) If you think that's okay, then consider how this hypothetical sounds--"today, the conservative mayor of Abilene, Texas, has announced that Five Guys Burgers cannot open any stores in his city because the CEO of Five Guys recently spoke out in favor of same sex marriage." If the First Amendment only protects speech we like, then there's no point to having a First Amendment. Besides, if you're going to let a hatemongering homophobic anti-semitic nutjob weirdo like Lou Farrakhan do business in your city, and even enlist his help in combatting your city's murder problem, maybe you need a bit of perspective.
As for the private boycott, though, I can understand where the boycotters are coming from--as in the Dixie Chicks case, it's not about causing some change (as would be the case if you boycotted a company because it underpaid its employees, for example) but more about not wanting your money going towards someone you fundamentally disagree with. To me, this is the Dixie Chicks all over again--I need to eat unhealthy fast-food chicken sandwiches about as much as I need to hear terrible, terribly twangy music that sucks.