Tag Archives: gay marriage

US military pondered love not war


US military pondered love not war

The US military investigated building a “gay bomb”, which would make enemy soldiers “sexually irresistible” to each other, government papers say.

Other weapons that never saw the light of day include one to make soldiers obvious by their bad breath.

The US defence department considered various non-lethal chemicals meant to disrupt enemy discipline and morale.

The 1994 plans were for a six-year project costing $7.5m, but they were never pursued.

The US Air Force Wright Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, sought Pentagon funding for research into what it called “harassing, annoying and ‘bad guy’-identifying chemicals”.

The plans were obtained under the US Freedom of Information by the Sunshine Project, a group which monitors research into chemical and biological weapons.

‘Who? Me?’

The plan for a so-called “love bomb” envisaged an aphrodisiac chemical that would provoke widespread homosexual behaviour among troops, causing what the military called a “distasteful but completely non-lethal” blow to morale.

Scientists also reportedly considered a “sting me/attack me” chemical weapon to attract swarms of enraged wasps or angry rats towards enemy troops.

A substance to make the skin unbearably sensitive to sunlight was also pondered.

Another idea was to develop a chemical causing “severe and lasting halitosis”, so that enemy forces would be obvious even when they tried to blend in with civilians.

In a variation on that idea, researchers pondered a “Who? Me?” bomb, which would simulate flatulence in enemy ranks.

Indeed, a “Who? Me?” device had been under consideration since 1945, the government papers say.

However, researchers concluded that the premise for such a device was fatally flawed because “people in many areas of the world do not find faecal odour offensive, since they smell it on a regular basis”.

Captain Dan McSweeney of the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate at the Pentagon said the defence department receives “literally hundreds” of project ideas, but that “none of the systems described in that [1994] proposal have been developed”.

He told the BBC: “It’s important to point out that only those proposals which are deemed appropriate, based on stringent human effects, legal, and international treaty reviews are considered for development or acquisition.” SOURCE

Military suffers wave of ‘gay’ sex assaults

Military suffers wave of ‘gay’ sex assaults

‘We’ve got a male-on-male problem here’

A recent military report on sexual assault in the military shocked many in Washington and around the nation, but a leading expert on military personnel revealed the prevalence of men assaulting other men is one of the major headlines in this study.

The extended analysis of the report first appeared in Monday’s edition of the the Washington Times.

The Defense Department survey of sexual assault in the military during fiscal 2012 estimated 26,000 assaults took place in the armed forces. Nearly 3,000 of them were formally reported. Just more than 6 percent of women reported being victims of assault and 1.2 percent of men said the same. Given the much larger number of men in the military, those numbers suggest 14,000 of the assaults in the Pentagon study happened to men.

Among the assaults formally reported, 88 percent of reports came from women and 12 percent from men. The numbers are getting dramatically worse.

“The number of reports of sexual assaults among military personnel have actually increased by 129 percent since 2004,” said Center for Military Readiness President Elaine Donnelly, who pointed out the number of formal reports of sexual assault jumped from 1,275 to 2,949 in just eight years.

She told WND when factoring in civilians working for or around the military, the increase in that time is 98 percent.

Women are identified as the attacker in just two percent of all assaults, meaning most men who suffer assault are targeted by other men.

“So we’ve got a male-on-male problem here. The Department of Defense doesn’t want to comment on this. They know that the numbers are there. They say that they care, but all the attention is usually given to the female members of the military who are subjected to sexual assault,” Donnelly said.

The Washington Times article also includes analysis from Aaron Belkin, who heads The Palm Center. He said the rise in male-on-male sexual assault does not reflect the increase of homosexuals in the military but, rather, those assaults are ”somewhat similar to prison rape.”

“Well, that’s a great slogan to use for recruiting young men into the military, isn’t it? It’s outrageous. And yet, the Department of Defense doesn’t quite know what to do with these figures, and so they just sort of put them in there and hope nobody notices,” said Donnelly, who points out The Palm Center is a homosexual activist organization.

While Donnelly fiercely opposed repealing the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military, she said it’s important to keep monitoring the numbers to determine how much that policy change specifically contributes to the problem. She said the increase in sexual assaults against female service members should not be diminished, either. Donnelly said a lot of work lies ahead to reverse this trend, but the military and the federal government are kidding themselves if they don’t think some major policy decisions aren’t contributing to the rise in sexual violence.

“I think we have to start with the basics, and that means basic training. Back in 1998, unanimously, the Kassebaum-Baker Commission came out with recommendation to separate basic training for Army, Air Force and Navy trainers, (to) do it like the Marines do. The Marines train basic training separately, male and female at Parris Island. That’s a good thing to do. It’s a good first start,” Donnelly said.

“Second, they should stop pretending that sexuality does not matter. You cannot solve a problem by extending it into the combat arms. The big push is for women in combat, this argument that we have to have women in the infantry so they’ll be respected more and they won’t be assaulted,” said Donnelly, who noted that the strategy for women in combat that started more than a generation ago from then-Rep. Pat Schroeder, D-Colo., has been thoroughly discredited.

“Respect for women in the military today is higher than ever, but the sexual assault numbers keep climbing up,” she said. “I think before we start implementing a theory that’s been discredited. The members of the Pentagon and the people who make policy in Congress as well, they need to stop. They need to assess where we are, what has happened in the last two decades and they need to stop pretending that a lot of sensitivity training or highly paid consultants, that that is going to make a difference in the sex problems we’re seeing right now,” said Donnelly.

In 2012, Donnelly told WND that the statistics showed a more than 20 percent increase in reported sexual assaults on males.SOURCE

Bill Would Allow Refusal of ServiceTo Gay Couples

NH Bill Would Allow Service Refusal To Gay Couples

Custom Search

By Lauren Leamanczyk, WBZ-TV

– New Hampshire business owners could soon have the legal right to decide who they serve.

Lawmakers are debating a bill that would let a business refuse service to any couple, for any reason.

As a business owner, Tim Kierstead believes in the right to run his restaurant the way he sees fit.

“I think each business has the right to do as they choose,” he told WBZ-TV.

But as a gay man, he has a real problem with the new bill being proposed.

It would allow businesses to refuse service to a couple if they didn’t agree with their marriage.

“When the government starts getting involved, it turns around and brings in a whole new light. We turn around and now we’re becoming second-class citizens. I mean, they don’t have a right. Where’s the line going to be drawn?”

The bill never specifically mentions gay marriage and opponents say it could be used to allow businesses to discriminate against anyone whose marriage they didn’t agree with.

The bill’s co-sponsor Rep. Frank Sapareto, a Republican from Derry, said this is not a gay rights issue, but a religious freedom case.

“We’re certainly taking people’s freedoms away as we make more and more laws that force them to provide occupation or services that violate their beliefs,” Sapareto told WBZ.

And he told me, that could include refusing service to any group.

“I, as a business man, have a right to do business with who I want to.”

WBZ-TV’s Lauren Leamanczyk reports

But outside on Main Street, business owners saw it differently.

“We don’t ask those questions and we don’t care,” Audrey Little said.

Little provides her caramel apples and chocolates for all sorts of weddings.

In this economy, a customer is a customer.

“It would be foolish for us to turn any kind of customer away,” she said.

SOURCE

Same-sex penguin pair fascinates zookeepers

Same-sex penguin pair fascinates zookeepers

Are Buddy and Pedro, two African penguins at the Toronto Zoo, gay?

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but their keepers have noticed the two are inseparable, and perhaps most telling, they’re showing signs of mating behaviours.

There are other cases of gay penguins — zoos in New York, Japan, Germany and Sea World Orlando have seen examples.

As part of an experiment a few years ago, Roy and Silo, two male chinstrap penguins at New York’s Central Park zoo, incubated an egg together and raised the chick, named Tango, after she hatched. A children’s book about them called And Tango Makes Three was a smash best seller.

But in Toronto, Buddy and Pedro’s relationship, however you describe it, is destined to come to an end soon because they have a duty. They have top-notch genes, so the zoo intends to separate them from each other and pair them with females for breeding.

Given that African penguins are endangered, the move falls within a species survival plan among zoos.

Buddy, 20, and Pedro, 10, are in Toronto as part of the popular African penguin exhibit that opened at the zoo in May. The two, bred in captivity, were part of a group of 12 penguins — six male, six female — that came to Toronto from zoos in the U.S.

Buddy and Pedro arrived from Toledo, Ohio, where they formed a connection as members of a bachelor flock.

Their relationship, referred to as “pair bonding’’ in zoo speak, continued after they arrived here, say their zoo keepers. Scientists don’t use the words gay or straight when it comes to sexual orientation in animals.

During the day all 12 penguins generally swim and frolic together in their enclosure, which includes a massive pool with underwater windows for the public to view.

But at night Buddy and Pedro pair off together. Every night.

“They do courtship and mating behaviours that females and males would do,’’ one keeper said in an interview.

Those behaviours include making a “braying’’ sound, almost like a donkey, as a mating call. They defend their territory, preen each other, and are constantly standing alone together. In fact when the Star visited the exhibit this week Buddy emerged from the water, followed a few moments later by Pedro. The two huddled together for quite some time.

Their relationship is somewhat of a delicate issue for the keepers to discuss with outsiders. But they’ve all noticed the pair’s bond, and talk about it among themselves.

“This is all new for us,’’ said another keeper, pointing out that the zoo hasn’t had African penguins on display since 1993.

“It’s a complicated issue, but they seem to be in a loving relationship of some sort,’’ says Joe Torzsok, chair of the Toronto zoo board.

It’s not unusual for some species of animals to exhibit homosexual tendencies. Giraffes, some dolphins and some monkeys are known to form same-sex bonds. The case of the Central Park penguins was similar to one at a zoo in Germany where two male penguins did the same thing.

Native to South Africa, the African penguin population has dropped significantly, from millions centuries ago. The animals are declining by a rate of about 2 per cent a year, leading to worries about their long-term sustainability on Earth.

By the late 1990s their population had recovered slightly, with about 224,000 in existence.

Currently the major threats to these penguins include oil pollution and competition from commercial fisheries for their natural food supply.

SOURCE

Is marriage obsolete? 6 things to consider

Is marriage obsolete? 6 things to consider

By Dave Singleton

Nearly four in ten Americans think marriage is becoming obsolete. What?! Taken from a recent nationwide Pew Research Center survey entitled The Decline of Marriage and Rise of New Families (conducted in association with Time and complemented by demographic and economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau), this statistic shows the 11 percent spike since Time asked the same question of its readers in 1978. That new research figure is sending a few shockwaves through the country, especially among conservative groups who are up in arms over what they perceive to be the culprits; namely, the rise in the number of unmarried couples living together, single mothers, and same-sex relationships.

Are traditional marriages and nuclear families a thing of the past?

Clearly, there’s been a shift in attitudes about these cultural institutions, but overall, I don’t think they’re genuinely becoming obsolete. Over the past couple of generations, there’s been a relationship revolution going on. The 1950s model of American life — marriage in your early twenties followed by children, differences in socioeconomic status between men and women — has given way to newer and evolving ways of dating, mating and socializing in general.

If you take a look at current pop culture trends, you’ll see that we’re actually more in love with relationships than ever before. Ratings for TV shows like The Bachelor, Say Yes to the Dress, and Modern Family show that our love for relationships of every variety is going strong. We’re just less committed to how we make them happen and who gets to participate in the process. “If marriage is viewed as increasingly obsolete, it’s because we’re appreciating a wider range of options,” says Brian Powell, Professor of Sociology at Indiana University and coauthor of Counted Out: Same-sex Relations And Americans’ Definitions Of Family. “This doesn’t indicate a vote against marriage; more likely, it’s a vote for the diversity of family forms out there, even those without the legal imprimatur of marriage.”

But what does this all mean for the millions out there dating and relating? I pored over the research to bring to light the six survey implications that matter most for singles.

1. Ninety-five percent of younger respondents say I “still” do to marriage
Despite the rising figures for cohabitation and divorce, the new study shows that 44 percent of Americans under 30 believe marriage is heading for extinction, while only five percent of respondents in that same age group don’t want to get hitched. So, how do you wrap your mind around these two seemingly contradictory findings? A theory proposed by David Popenoe, a former Rutgers sociology professor and co-director of the National Marriage Project, is that the ones who called marriage “obsolete” may be voicing their own fears rather than expressing a genuine wish to see the institution disappear. Others think it may just be a case of semantics. The basics of committed relationships are solid, but the formalities involved could become increasingly less common. “Most Americans today take the marital relationship more seriously than ever before, expecting more intimacy, fairness and mutual respect,” says Stephanie Coontz, Director of Research and Public Education for the Council on Contemporary Families and author of A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s.

2. There’s a difference between “needing” and “wanting” to be married
We still want to get married, obviously… but maybe the bigger implication from the Pew Center’s survey is that we just don’t need it as much as we once did. In purely practical terms, marriage today is not like it was for previous generations. Socially, spiritually and symbolically, how we view it has changed greatly, and that factors into the results. “The truth is that we no longer feel that the marital institution is essential for [someone’s] social respectability or personal well-being,” says Coontz. “For the most part, that’s good news for singles. It means you can take your time making up your mind about whether or not you want to marry without being stigmatized the way singles were back in the 1960s. And the longer you take, the better your chances of forming a lasting partnership.”

3. When it comes to marriage views, money and education matter
Marriage remains the norm for adults with college educations and good incomes, but it’s now markedly less prevalent among poorer and less educated individuals. Why? It turns out we are much more into getting married if we can afford it — and maybe that’s a sign of the times. Getting married during a recession means not only considering whether you have enough money for the wedding and other associated costs, but also any concerns you might have about taking on a spouse’s debt. The survey found that people whose education ended with a high school diploma (or less) are just as likely to say they’d like to marry as those with college degrees, but the first group placed a higher premium on financial stability as one of the most important reasons to do so than the latter did (38 percent versus 21 percent, respectively).

4. We’re waiting longer to get hitched, but what’s so bad about that?
Census data shows that young people are waiting to marry until they’re a few years older nowadays. The median age for first marriages in the U.S. is at its highest point ever. For women, it’s 26.1 years of age, and for men, it’s 28.2. On top of that, for the first time in half a century, unmarried people between the ages of 25 and 34 outnumber their married counterparts in the same age range. But here’s good news for all the twenty-somethings who feel like they’re never going to meet the right mate and settle down: younger people are waiting until they’re better educated, better off financially, and more mature first. They’ve seen their parents’ generation divorce at unprecedented rates (approximately 50 percent), and frankly, they don’t want that to happen to them. Maybe they just want to get it right by taking their time, and if you ask me, that’s cause for celebration. It actually shows reverence for marriage, not disdain.

5. Being in a less traditional relationship does not equal less happiness
Everyone talks about the “good old days.” In marriage terms, we think of role models such as Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, who were the perfect 1950s couple. Here’s a wild notion implied by the research: maybe couples today are actually happier. Yes, there’ve been dramatic changes to the way couples live now — for example, more cohabitation vs. marriage — but it’s clear that the importance of family still remains strong. Seventy-six percent of adults claim that their family is the most important thing to them (regardless of how it’s structured), 75 percent say they are “very satisfied” with their family life, and more than eight in 10 say the family they live in now is as close as (45 percent) or closer than (40 percent) the family in which they were raised. More than half of the people living with someone (as opposed to being married) report that they have a better relationship with their romantic partners than their parents did when they were growing up. Marriage might be viewed as an increasingly obsolete tradition, but it’s clear that marriage, relationships and family are ultimately still quite satisfying.

6. Feelings about marriage are relative
It’s hard to evaluate the findings of this survey without assessing the role that timing plays in shaping people’s views. Maybe people are just more cynical in general these days. Consider how the study’s marriage findings compare with other key areas of life: more Americans (67 percent) remain optimistic about marriage than about the educational system (50 percent), economy (46 percent) or human morality (41 percent). Think about that for a minute; it means we’re actually more upbeat about marriage than we are about our chances of educating our kids, making a decent living, or being a good person. When it comes to love, obsolescence is clearly in the eye of the beholder. Based on this research, I’d say there’s plenty of validation and support for singles looking to create meaningful relationships on their own terms — including, but not limited to, the ever-revered tradition of marriage.

Dave Singleton, an award-winning writer and columnist for Match.com since 2003, is the author of two books on dating and relationships. Send your dating questions and comments to him at [email protected]

SOURCE

The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for LGBT Employees

By Barbara Frankel – Apr 17, 2011

This list really should be called The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for LGBT Employees and Allies, since companies that provide inclusive corporate cultures for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees report increased engagement and support from their friends and relatives as well.

The criteria for determining this list is somewhat different from the other top 10 demographic lists, since there is far less available data on LGBT people than on groups broken down by race/ethnicity or gender. To determine this list, we weigh questions from The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity® list, including employee participation in LGBT employee-resource groups, and relevant benefits, such as adoption assistance or bereavement leave for domestic partners. Any company that does not offer same-sex domestic-partner health benefits is automatically disqualified from this list, as well as the DiversityInc Top 50 and our other related lists. We also factor in third-party information for this list, including the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, and input from our LGBT partner organizations, such as the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Out & Equal and PFLAG (Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays).

Consider these aggregate facts about the companies on this list:

They average double the percentage of employees actively participating in their LGBT employee-resource groups when compared with the DiversityInc Top 50
They all have relocation assistance for same-sex partners and almost all have adoption assistance, bereavement leave and automatic 401(k) designation for same-sex partners
All have demonstrated strong partnerships with leading LGBT organizations in terms of philanthropy and leadership commitment

Here is the list and a fact about each company and why it made the list:

No. 1: KPMG

No. 29 in the DiversityInc Top 50. Also No. 2 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for People With Disabilities; No. 6 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Global Diversity

KPMG has been a leader in LGBT philanthropy and in its support of its LGBT employee-resource group. The firm’s diversity training reflects its commitment to its LGBT employees. Its [email protected]’s Straight for Equality training, sponsored by the Diversity Advisory Board, is facilitated by the pride network and presented by PFLAG. It is a 90-minute interactive training aimed at general audiences with varying levels of understanding about LGBT issues.

No. 2: Wells Fargo & Co.

No. 40 in the DiversityInc Top 50. Also No. 10 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Asian Americans

Wells Fargo has been a leader in marketing and outreach to the LGBT community. Its philanthropic endeavors include GLSEN, the Point Foundation, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

No. 3: IBM Corp.

No. 7 in the DiversityInc Top 50. Also No. 4 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Asian Americans; No. 1 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for People With Disabilities; No. 1 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Global Diversity

A longtime leader in creating an inclusive workplace, IBM also has been a leader in finding gay and lesbian suppliers. Working closely with the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, IBM has an extensive process to audit these suppliers and to confirm they are gay and lesbian suppliers.

No. 4: Aetna

No. 19 in the DiversityInc Top 50. Also No. 4 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for People With Disabilities

The health-insurance company has a strong LGBT employee-resource group and deep support for LGBT rights from the top. CEO and President Mark Bertolini was honored by Out & Equal Workplace Advocates last year as a straight person who has championed gay equality in the workplace.

No. 5: Ernst & Young

No. 5 in the DiversityInc Top 50. Also No. 2 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Recruitment & Retention; No. 10 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Latinos; No. 7 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Executive Women; No. 5 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for People With Disabilities; No. 2 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Global Diversity

Ernst & Young has an effective LGBT and allies employee-resource group, used for recruitment and talent development. Its group has existed for more than eight years, and 7 percent of its employees are members.

No. 6: PricewaterhouseCoopers

No. 3 in the DiversityInc Top 50. Also No. 1 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Recruitment & Retention; No. 5 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Asian Americans; No. 2 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Executive Women; No. 3 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Global Diversity

The professional-services firm is tops at communicating its commitment to an inclusive workplace. Recently, PwC launched a video of gay and lesbian staff sharing their challenges as part of the It Gets Better project. PwC was the first of the Big Four accounting firms to create an advisory board of openly gay and lesbian partners.

No. 7: Sodexo

No. 2 in the DiversityInc Top 50. Also No. 5 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Recruitment & Retention; No. 3 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Supplier Diversity; No. 7 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Blacks; No. 3 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Latinos; No. 3 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Executive Women; No. 9 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for People With Disabilities; No. 4 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Global Diversity

Sodexo has a valued LGBT employee-resource group, used for recruitment and talent development, and is committed to philanthropy in the LGBT community.

No. 8: Bank of America

No. 11 in the DiversityInc Top 50. Also No. 7 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Recruitment & Retention; No. 9 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Supplier Diversity; No. 9 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Executive Women

Bank of America has been a longtime visible supporter of LGBT rights, whose LGBT and ally employee-resource group has existed for more than a decade. Bank of America continues to be a public advocate for the passage of a congressional bill to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in the workplace, the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

No. 9: Merck & Co.

No. 15 in the DiversityInc Top 50. Also No. 10 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Supplier Diversity; No. 7 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for People With Disabilities; No. 7 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Global Diversity

The pharmaceutical firm has a strong commitment to philanthropy, including a partnership with GLSEN. Merck has a long-time commitment to an inclusive workforce, including an LGBT and ally employee-resource group in existence for more than 10 years.

No. 10: American Express Co.

No. 13 in the DiversityInc Top 50. Also No. 8 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Asian Americans; No. 10 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Executive Women; No. 9 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Global Diversity

American Express is also a long-time leader in creating an inclusive workplace, with its LGBT and ally employee-resource group in existence for more than 10 years. The company’s philanthropy to LGBT organizations is very strong.
Posted Monday Apr 18, 2011 by Guest;
Maybe you should show the top 100 or top 1,000, to better help us know the companies to be employed with. Only putting “10” doesn’t give us much to choose from..

http://www.diversityinc.com/article/8387/The-DiversityInc-Top-10-Companies-for-LGBT-Employees

Guess who doesn’t feel like Chicken tonight?

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

The ongoing Chick-fil-A flap – which has gay rights groups blasting the restaurant chain for donating food to an anti-gay marriage group – may be a fleeting controversy for a privately held company that is more accustomed to fiercely loyal patrons and generally positive press coverage.

But Lake Lambert, author of the book Spirituality Inc., says the flap may be a sign of more turbulence ahead for Chick-fil-A as it attempts to hold onto its conservative Christian business culture while expanding its chain beyond the Bible Belt.

“If you have a faith-based corporate identity and you want to function in the national marketplace, you’re going to continue to encounter resistance to those values because not everybody is going to share them,” says Lambert. “The only other option is some sort of secular identity and that’s not where Chick-fil-A is going.”

Lambert says Chick-fil-A is the most visible example of an American corporation trying to foster a specifically Christian identity. The company is privately held and family-run, making that task somewhat easier.

Lambert says Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy signed what Cathy describes as a “covenant” with his children when they took over the company, to help preserve its Christian DNA.

The current controversy erupted when some college campus and gay rights groups blasted the restaurant chain for donating free food to a Pennsylvania organization opposed to gay marriage.

The Human Rights Campaign, a major gay rights group, launched a letter writing campaign to the company, while the Indiana University South Bend went so far as to temporarily suspend Chick-fil-A service in its campus dining facilities.

The fallout provoked Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy to defend his company in a Facebook video and in a written statement.

“In recent weeks, we have been accused of being anti-gay,” Cathy said in a written statement last Saturday. “We have no agenda against anyone.”

“While my family and I believe in the Biblical definition of marriage,” the statement continued, “we love and respect anyone who disagrees.”

The gestures have not mollified many of the chain’s critics, some of whom are airing their grievances on Chick-fil-A’s Facebook page. The Human Rights Campaign is calling on the restaurant to begin participating in the Corporate Equality Index, which rates companies’ treatment of gays.

Christian culture pervades many aspects of Chick-fil-A’s operations, from its corporate purpose – which includes “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us” – to its policy of closing restaurants on Sundays to praying at restaurant openings.

According to a recent case study of the restaurant chain by the Yale School of Management, employees are encouraged to attend prayer services.

Chick-fil-A has over 1,500 locations and began moving beyond the Deep South in the last decade or so. Recently the company has expanded its number of restaurants in the Northeast, creating a more serious presence there.

According to its website, there is only one Chick-fil-A store in New York State, at New York University in downtown Manhattan.

Considering Chick-fil-A’s conservative Christian mission, perhaps the most striking feature of the recent controversy is how unusual it is for the company. As the chain continues to grow, they may find it more difficult to avoid the culture war.

?http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/02/04/chick-fil-a-controversy-shines-light-on-restaurants-christian-dna/?hpt=C2