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Spitzer: Should you boycott Chick-fil-A?

A Chick-fil-A fast food restaurant in Atlanta. Gay

A Chick-fil-A fast food restaurant in Atlanta. Gay rights advocates were surprised that the president of the Atlanta-based chain has taken a public position against same-sex marriage. Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy said this week that his privately owned company is "guilty as charged" in support of what he called the biblical definition of the family unit. (July 19, 2012) Credit: AP

Chick-fil-A makes a great chicken sandwich, and I used to like getting one -- with a cup of their amazing lemonade -- whenever I was in the South. In fact, before I knew more about Chick-fil-A, I used to joke about helping to open one in New York.

Then I found out the company, according to the LGBT group Equality Matters, has donated millions of dollars to groups that oppose gay rights, and Chick-fil-A's president, Dan Cathy, told a Baptist newspaper that he supported the "biblical" definition of family. That's why former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas has asked that folks who share the company's principles stop by a Chick-fil-A on Aug. 1 to show support for the company's conservative values.

And that's fair enough.

If you really don't think gays and lesbians should have the same rights as everyone else, and you oppose same-sex marriage, stop by Chick-fil-A. If you truly believe gays and lesbians should be second-class citizens, and if you sincerely don't want them to marry the people they love, stop by Chick-fil-A.

But the same goes for those of us who support same-sex marriage and have what we consider to be a broader view of civil rights. We should boycott Chick-fil-A. These are our consumer dollars -- and they're part of our voice. We should use them for products we like -- to support companies we like and to back causes we like.

As good as those Chick-fil-A lunches used to taste, there are other places to get a chicken sandwich.

I have no problem with companies whose leaders use corporate profits to support their conservative world view. In fact, I applaud their involvement in politics.

But those of us who disagree have to remember that we too can exercise our rights, flex our muscles and show our commitment to the values we believe in, from how we spend our consumer dollars to how we choose the companies we invest in, to, of course, how we vote in elections. All of these are levers that every citizen should use.

Eliot Spitzer is the former governor of New York. He wrote this for slate.com

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