Finding Out a Maine Chick-fil-A is Owned By Two Gay Men Made Me Pause
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.
I learned this while looking into a fundraiser they are doing to help No Bowl Empty 2 Pet Food Pantry.
I'll be honest. I have avoided Chick-fil-A because of the stories of the owner, Dan Cathy, having an anti-gay agenda. Call it peer pressure, but being gay AND in the public eye - I feel a slight responsibility to do 'the right thing'. I figured, whether right or wrong, not eating at the new exciting Westbrook Chick-fil-A was doing my tiny part of not contributing to anything anti-LGBTQ+.
But then I found myself in a pickle! Chick-fil-A was raising money and supplies for No Bowl Empty 2 Pet Food Pantry out of Waterboro. I was asked if I could help share this news. I felt trapped. I love this organization and of course, would love to help, but by helping I would have to tell people to eat at Chick-fil-A in Westbrook! What the hell should I do?
This event has been extended to Saturday, February 5.
That's when it was brought to my attention that the Westbrook CFA (I can't keep typing that out) was owned by a married couple - Brad and Jeremy. Wait, what?! Yup. A gay couple owns the Westbrook CFA! Hold on - that's a huge game-changer! This isn't a secret either. It's not like they are closeted and I'm spilling the beans. Nope. They have been with CFA for about 10 years now in the south and recently moved to Maine to open our second CFA (the first is in Bangor and has been open since 2016). This is Brad, Jeremy, and their best friend Sarge.
Why don't I know this? I called Chick-fil-A and spoke to a couple of people in their consumer relations department. Lauren is now in Maine from the south and Alana is still based out of Georgia. I was very honest with them and said that I had no idea about Brad and Jeremy and was curious why this isn't on posters throughout Maine given CFA's history of donating to anti-LGBTQ causes.
Brad Terrell said:
As a Chick-fil-A Operator, I have the opportunity to choose unique ways for our business to give back to this city, supporting causes that are most meaningful to me, our Guests and our Team Members. My husband, Jeremy, and I have a tremendous love for animals, and we knew we wanted one of our first partnerships to benefit our four-legged friends in the area.
Alana and Lauren, both adore Brad and Jeremy. Alana basically said that Brad wants to focus more on doing good in the community, rather than being a spokesperson for the gay community. I get that 100%. Sometimes, just because you are gay, you may be expected to be a leader in the gay community. Not all of us want that role.
I did some digging about CFA and the reputation that they have. Yes, the owner Dan Cathy is very religious and believes in the biblical definition of marriage. Yes, Dan Cathy personally still donates to anti-LGTBQ+ organizations. But nationally CFA has changed how they donate and who they donate to. Vox did a very in-depth story about this. The Westbrook CFA is an independently owned and operated franchise.
For me personally, I want to support helping pets in Maine get food. I also want to support local businesses that do good in the community. Until they prove themselves to be otherwise, I will be going to Chick-fil-A in Westbrook and bringing some dog food...and yes, trying their chicken.