VIDEO: Gay Community Crying Fowl over Pride Fest Partnership?

Some members of the LBGT community are threatening to disrupt NH Pride Fest due to Chick-Fil-A presence, says fest organizer.

Just as organizers of NH Pride Fest were enjoying common ground recently established with the local owner, a new rift has developed: Discrimination against the gay pride rally from within the Lesbian/Bisexual/Gay/Transgendered community.

"As all this news was swirling around yesterday about the, we started hearing that some people from within our own community are coming together to stand against us," said Ryan Manseau, senior director for NH Pride Fest.

On Wednesday Manseau got a call about a major sponsor for Pride Fest being pressured by another local group to drop out because of the Chick-Fil-A sponsorship.

Manseau said he did not want to publicly name the group without trying to clear the air first.

"I've been making calls to the directors of these groups, but I haven't heard back," said Manseau. "They need to call me."

He said he wasn't sure if pressure was coming from individuals or from an organized effort.

More shocking to both Manseau, 22, and fellow event organizer, Tara Powell, 27, was the gesture of goodwill from Nashua Chick-Fil-A owner Anthony Piccola, who agreed last week to be an event sponsor for the gay pride rally set for Aug. 11 in Manchester.

"Chick-Fil-A is doing the thing everyone wanted them to do, by boycotting; they're changing their stance and showing support for the gay community – we realize this is just one store. But there are other owners out there who feel the same way as Anthony Piccola," Manseau said. "This is a start."

Neither say they are surprised that backlash is coming from within the gay community.

"We're fractured – we're a fractured community, and we have been for the last seven to to 10 years," Powell said. "Our motto is 'Unity Through Community.' That is what we're about, and that is why this event is so important to us."

Manseau said he understands that the hurt goes deep for many within the gay community over Chick-Fil-A's history of financial support for "anti-gay" programs and initiatives.

According to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Chick-fil-A's anti-LGBT stance extends beyond just marriage equality. They cite the company's financial support of organizations defined as "hate groups" by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and programs that push therapy to help people "give up being gay." Chick-Fil-A has also supported organizations that have gone on record saying that being gay should be recriminalized in America, said GLAAD, and does not allow gay couples to participate in its "WinShape Retreats" aimed at growing leadership within the company.

Aaron McQuade, director of news and field media for GLAAD's New York office said that he was not aware of the NH Pride Fest, but as a former resident of Manchester, he thought it was "fantastic."

"We have not been asked to participate, but if we were closer to New Hampshire, we would," McQuade said. "It's a fantastic initiative."

As for Piccola, he did not respond yesterday to a request for an interview directly, but did provide a written statement Wednesday that read:

“As an independent franchise operator I am dedicated to supporting our local community in the best ways possible and we give to a wide variety of causes in Nashua. The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”

Manseau said he considers Piccola a role model for all business owners, in Nashua and across the country.

"We at NH Pride are about changing the world –  our world, in New Hampshire – we don't care if the LGBT community sees it as wrong.  This is the end of the cold war; it's the truce. We're making a bridge. We need to change minds, not by boycotting a fast food restaurant; that was phase one," Manseau said. "Now, it's time to work with companies like Chick-Fil-A. We need to work together to make change."

The news of this unlikely partnership between NH Pride Fest and Chick-Fil-A coincided with a national initiative launched by former GOP presidential contender Mike Huckabee, who declared Aug. 1 "Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day." Huckabee urged people to show support for CEO Dan Cathy by pledging to patronize the restaurant Wednesday, a response to the backlash against the chain in recent weeks, following publicity over Cathy's statements.

On Wednesday long lines formed at the Nashua mall fast food restaurant and remained steady all day, with reports coming from both camps that the lines were there to show support for Cathy as well as Piccola.

News was also circulating that Chick-Fil-A had sold record amounts of food Wednesday, word that spread via social networks, including this message posted on Twitter by Christian evangelical minister and best-selling author, Rick Warren:

@dancathy just called me. #ChickFilA has already set a world record today, with 7 more hrs to go in the West. #OutOfChicken.

On Aug. 3 a national counter protest is planned, as members of the gay community are urged to head to their local Chick-Fil-A and participate in a "Kiss In," by locking lips with a member of the same sex.

Jan Schmidt August 02, 2012 at 11:45 AM
"NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—Customers across the nation who turned out for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day were in for a surprise, as the chicken restaurant chose today to launch a new product, Hate Sauce. Delighted customers mobbed the restaurants to try the zesty new sauce, with many chicken fanciers ordering their sandwiches with extra hate. “It’s so spicy it makes your mouth feel like it’s on fire—like a gay couple in hell,” said Harland Dorrinson, who sampled the sauce at a Chick-fil-A in Orlando." Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2012/08/chick-fil-a-introduces-new-hate-sauce.html#ixzz22O8lyX4W
Hilltopper August 02, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Jan, Please explain how a condemnation from Congress would of prevented the "death of someone's sister or brother, mother or father... or child" in another country?? Kinda like not buying buying a new Iphone prevented the fate of the Chinese worker??
Rockne1865 August 02, 2012 at 01:15 PM
To quote R King "Can't we all get along?" It would seem that the true face of Christianity is hate same as the Muslim religion. "Hide Witch hide the good folk come to burn thee & hide their keen enjoyment neath a mask of Gothic duty." Grace Slick
Billnh August 02, 2012 at 02:33 PM
So havent companies like MS and Apple, at some points in their history, made contributions or supported anti-gay groups ? Am I responsible for a death everytime I click a mouse or do anything with my fone ?
Billnh August 02, 2012 at 02:39 PM
"Well sir I guess there's just a meanness in this world", Bruce Springsteen, 'Nebraska'
Hilltopper August 02, 2012 at 03:22 PM
As Mr Piccola claims, “As an independent franchise operator I am dedicated to supporting our local community in the best ways possible and we give to a wide variety of causes in Nashua. The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender He left out "Color" as in the color "Green" ---Between yesterday's Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day and the upcoming NH Pride Fest-- everything is coming up "Green" for Mr. Piccola--a savy businessman
Chris Saucier August 02, 2012 at 03:40 PM
I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic or not, but for those less vigilant, I'd like to point out that this is satire..
Jan Schmidt August 02, 2012 at 03:48 PM
uh... yes - this humor writer is as usual trying to make a point while making people smile at his often tongue-in-cheek look at current events.
Jan Schmidt August 02, 2012 at 03:50 PM
You've got it Hill... smart man making money on both sides of an issue. If only he was wise too.
Dan August 02, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Personally I would like to look at this from two points. On a business standpoint, it is questionable to make a decision that Chick-fil-A would make. When Starbucks had their issue overcharging 9/11 rescue personnel for bottled water, and the 1981 Sambo's Restaurant chain with the usage of the racial naming of their company, along with others, there is a fine line as to what some people will buy (and/or tolerate) when the spend their money for services etc. Secondly, one other point that I would like to make is this. Mostly when I have seen these activists such as Ryan and Tara, I think that in this day and age, if you want to show that you have your act together, then you have to promote an image that is going to tolerate within mainstream New Hampshire, if not America. When I see a woman wearing clothes showing off tattooes, and the lip piercing of both Tara and Ryan, it sends a message that would scare off even the MOST tolerable, and open-minded individual. Dressing for success does in most cases, gets the job done in such a way, that shows that people can respect that. I think back when I was in Maine, where I knew the first Lesbian who was elected to the Maine State Senate, and was also the first Maine Gay Constitutional Officer, there was someone who was respectible, and dressed as such. Tara and Ryan, if you want to change images, you need to ditch the lip piercings and tattooes. You might find people are more willing to see your viewpoints!
Chris Saucier August 02, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Just clarifying for those that are a little slower.. because they are here.
Billnh August 02, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Phew thanks for clarifying that for us dumb guys ... that are here ! Your vigilance is admirable.
Ann Beauregard August 02, 2012 at 05:54 PM
All these protesters, and posters on these sites are missing the point. It's not about gay or straight, black or white, pro-life or womens rights to choose. It's about free speech. The whole reason what happened is because a man expressed his opinion and gov't officials threatened to pull his permits and 'evict them from cities'. We may not agree with what was said, but his right to say it is defended under the first amendment. These are scary times people, when you wake up one day and find all of your unalienable rights are gone, at least I can say that I fought to keep them. And I am saying this as a Lesbian woman, we fight to be heard everyday for our beliefs, it is only right that they have the right to say what his belief is as well when it comes to Marriage. We cannot ask to be heard if we are not willing to listen!
Noreen August 02, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Don't shoot yourselves in the foot. This local operator should be embraced for breaking the Chick fil a ranks. Vigilance should also be paid to see if he suffers any repercussions for it from the parent company. Chick fil a operates under a share cropping business model, these local operators do not own their restaurants...they only rent everything for a share of the profits. Chick fil a has more operational control over their franchiees than any other franchised business. Its incredibly brave what this guy is doing because he could lose his store for it. There is the conundrum of half of all his profits are going to go back to the parent but still this move he's making should be embraced by the gay community.
Paul Mercury August 03, 2012 at 05:57 AM
"It's about free speech. The whole reason what happened is because a man expressed his opinion" No Ann. It's about Chick-fil-A financially supporting hate groups. http://thetruthpursuit.com/society/society-blogs/chick-fil-may-have-more-just-chicken-blood-its-hands/11304 http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/04/world/africa/04uganda.html?_r=1
Jim August 03, 2012 at 07:15 AM
I hate the group, well, we (group) hate you I can't stand the hate, yes, we can't stand the hate either. We hate you supporting groups that fight against us, we're proud to support groups that fight groups against us. It's not right you fight against us, but it is good we fight against you, because we're right and your wrong.
Jan Schmidt August 03, 2012 at 10:38 AM
Seamus Carty August 03, 2012 at 05:53 PM
About as factual as most of the stuff Jan Schmidt posts....
Ann Beauregard August 03, 2012 at 06:23 PM
David Victory, The CEO has been giving money to these groups for a long time, has anyone ever threatened to pull his permits and 'evict them from cities? No they have not! That is being done because of HIS BELIEFS, and OPINIONS. Would the franchise owner of the place in Nashua offer to sponsor GAY PRIDE in Nashua, had this man not spoken up and expressed his Beliefs, and Opinions, willing to bet NO is the answer to that one as well. What has happened is folks did not like what he said, so like anyone else that is losing a battle, ( like those who say we deserve to be heard, and listened to but showing they are not willing to do same.) then have to try and save face and say" umm, ahh, ummm, oh ya, he gives money to groups that have been qualified as hate groups in some circles". But as said before he has been doing it, if they wanted to speak up against that and go after him for that fine, but they did not until he used free speech! I do not agree with his view, but I do believe we as Americans need to stop rolling over as we are being molested of our rights with not so much as a kiss.
Disappointed August 03, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Anthony Piccola claims to support the local LGBT group, but did he donate the proceeds from Wednesday's protests of hate at his restaurant to a human rights organization?? No, he paid Dan Cathy his cut and pocketed the rest. You can "claim" you are a friend to the community but your actions speak louder!!!! And Ryan Manseau should be ashamed!!!! For him to say he doesn't care if the LGBT community sees his as wrong.......it is OUR event!! How dare you allow someone who financially participates in hate groups (proceeds he still sends to Dan Cathy, which fund hate groups), to participate in a pride event. Disgraceful!
Are you Serious? August 03, 2012 at 06:54 PM
You people are ridiculous to call yourselves enlightened. The fact that media outlets turned a "I support traditional marriage" to "I hate gays" is preposterous. The real things here is this. When the rights of an individual are in line with the status quo, things are fine. But the moment someone steps out of line... they are demonized and ostracized by the community at large. Support Chick-fil-a day was not a "hate on gays day" like so many of you enlightened persons believed it to be, but the real reason for it, the underlying force that was driving it, is that a persons rights were being violated. Also, to think that the PERSONAL beliefs of one are something that an ENTIRE corporation shares with that one, is asinine. Get off your high moral horse. When voices are made to be silent, tyranny rules. Stop being so sycophantic... The bill of rights are afforded to all citizens of the United States whether you agree with that or not. If you can push your agendas onto others, then in the like so can they push theirs onto you.
Ann Beauregard August 03, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Yes it is still our event, no doubt about that, an event that shows how proud we are for who and what we are, happy that we can gather as a group without being herded like cattle onto a box care and shipped off to a camp because we are " out of the norm, or we do not meet the requirements of one who deserves freedom". We have come a long way, and yet we find it so easy to forget and to pick and choose what makes someone ok in our eyes. Mr Piccola is a franchise owner, money or part of does go back to the one he signed the contract with. As for the other part he was willing to sponsor Gay pride and we said thanks but no thanks, now we complain that he claims to support the local LGBT groups but did not run out and write a check. MMM sounds funny to me, damned if he does damned if he doesn't. Regardless of what he did or does he will not win, and it was not him that made the comment against the right to Marry, so why,why are we judging every single CF-A .? Thats like heterosexuals seeing pride and some of the VERY COLORFUL flamboyant folks, and yes we even have the in your face types, along with the plain raunchy at times. Is it ok for them to judge ALL of us because of the few that stand out? NO IT IS NOT! Just like judging every CF-A employee for Mr Cathys comment.
Deej August 03, 2012 at 08:25 PM
I agree with "Are you Serious" - I copy that. But also, how could she say in the video that she don't like it when someone forces you to accept something... That is what the LGBT community is doing. They are trying to force others to accept their way of life... If they weren't feeling so guilty or thinking everyone is looking at them they would have know that we dealt with them before all of this and are dealing with them now...
Paul Mercury August 07, 2012 at 07:16 PM
@ Ann "The CEO has been giving money to these groups for a long time, has anyone ever threatened to pull his permits and 'evict them from cities?" Ok, so the anti-social corporate behavior has been going on a while under the radar, and now, due to Cathy's comments, it's common knowledge. So what? Are people supposed to ignore it because they haven't known about it from the beginning? Because it wasn't until the interview the contributions to hate groups became known? Do you expect people to think "Well, I didn't know they were doing that until the CEO made those anti-gay comments, so I guess I can't be critical now." That makes no sense.
Paul Mercury August 07, 2012 at 07:25 PM
@ AYS "When the rights of an individual are in line with the status quo, things are fine. But the moment someone steps out of line..." The LGBT individual's rights were in line with the status quo all along - they had no marriage rights. Then they stepped out of line...
Paul Mercury August 07, 2012 at 07:29 PM
"They are trying to force others to accept their way of life..." I just thought they wanted equal rights. If there was a company that gave money to groups that tried to prevent or de-legitimize YOUR marriage, would you just keep your mouth shut?
Hilltopper August 07, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Those that were bullied are now the bullies
Ann Beauregard August 07, 2012 at 07:50 PM
No David that is not what I am saying, What I am saying is I am sick and tired of our rights being stomped on and taken for granted, not only as a Lesbian, but as an American. We as Homosexuals fight each day for the rights that all Americans should not have to fight for. And now as Americans we are finding ourselves fighting for many rights that are being taken from us little by little as they convince us it is all for the better. So yes when someone speaks their belief and the Government steps in and threatens to take away a mans livelihood away, I have a major problem. Do I have a problem when one lone business man stands up and says " hey I may own a franchise from this guy, but his views are not my views, and I will put my money where my mouth is, and show my support to the Gay community" And then we ban him as well? YES I DO, I think many times in our eagerness to take a stand against the wrong doings against the gay community, we end up walking the very thin line of promoting hate and violence ourselves. All you have to do since you are good at finding stories to prove your point is look up how many Chick-fil-a franchises, have been vandalized? And they are not even the ones run by Mr Cathy on a daily basis. Yes he is wrong, I admit that with were he sends his money, but how we are handling the situation is not shining a very "Unity through Community," message either. We have to aim in caution not to become the very monster we are setting out to stop.
Ann Beauregard August 07, 2012 at 07:56 PM
@ Hilltopper, As a Lesbian woman I just wrote in a reply this very thing..." how we are handling the situation is not shining a very "Unity through Community," message either. We have to aim in caution not to become the very monster we are setting out to stop."
Paul Mercury August 07, 2012 at 08:12 PM
@ Hill A boycott is "bullying"? Speaking out against discrimination is "bullying"? The gay community and the people who love them have every right and reason to reject Chick-fil-A - a company that provides financial support to groups that interfere with the equal marriage rights. It's hilarious to me that a group of people who have been kicked around for so long are seen as "bullies" when they stand up for themselves. Remember the civil rights movement in the 1960s? All those black folks bullying white people for no reason.


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