|Don Perry courtesy of Chick-Fil-A|
Chick-Fil-A P.R. Executive Has Fatal Heart Attack
ATLANTA, GA -- Don Perry, vice president of public relations for the Chick-fil-A fast food chain's public relations department died of a heart attack Friday morning. The company is currently embroiled in a massive public relations debacle brought on by remarks made two weeks ago by its chief executive officer Dan Cathy.
In a statement released this morning, company executives said,
"We are saddened to report the news to you that our dear friend Don Perry, vice president of public relations, passed away suddenly this morning." The release added, "Don was a member of our Chick-fil-A family for nearly 29 years. He was a well-respected and well-liked media executive in the Atlanta and University of Georgia communities, and we will all miss him."
Perry had been speaking on behalf of the restaurant chain in efforts to contain the damage to its reputation caused by Chief Operating Officer Dan Cathy, who told a writer an interview with the Baptist Press that the company is 'guilty as charged' when it comes to its opposition to gay marriage.
The resulting public relations debacle included the Jim Henson Company cutting ties with the company along with political leaders in Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago slamming the company. The Georgia based franchise company has 1,614 restaurants in 39 states and the District of Columbia.
Co-Architect Of California's Prop 8 Named Archbishop of San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- Salvatore Cordileone, 56, the current prelate of Oakland, Calif. diocese and one of the principal architects of California' hotly contested Proposition 8- which banned same-sex marriage- was named archbishop by Pope Benedict XVI Friday.
Cordileone, who called gay marriage a Satanic plot by "the Evil One" to destroy morality in the modern world, will preside over an archdiocese that encompasses more than a half million Catholics in San Francisco and Marin County and on the Peninsula. He will also oversee the dioceses of Oakland, San Jose, Santa Rosa, Stockton, Sacramento, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Reno and Salt Lake City.
"Bishop Cordileone has proven himself to be an anti-gay activist who encourages and promotes discrimination against LGBT people,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.
“Catholic teaching calls on us to love our neighbors and to treat others with the same respect we wish for ourselves. Unfortunately, Bishop Cordileone’s crusade against LGBT people indicates he doesn’t take these particular teachings to heart.
While LGBT Catholics and their allies have worked relentlessly to create welcoming environments, the appointment of Bishop Cordileone sends a chilling message that, in the eyes of the hierarchy, same-sex relationships are not worthy of equal dignity and respect.”
The local bay area alternative weekly paper, the East Bay Express notes;
What almost no one knows is that without Bishop Sal, gay men and lesbians would almost surely still be able to get married today. As an auxiliary bishop in San Diego, Cordileone played an indispensable role in conceiving, funding, organizing, and ultimately winning the campaign to pass Proposition 8.
It was Bishop Sal and a small group of Catholic leaders who decided that they had to amend the state constitution. It was Bishop Sal who found the first major donor and flushed the fledgling campaign with cash. It was Bishop Sal who personally brought in the organization that took the lead on the petition drive. And it was Bishop Sal who coordinated the Catholic effort with evangelical churches around the state. Bishop Sal even helped craft the campaign's rhetorical strategy, sitting in on focus groups to hone the message of Proposition 8.
We know all this because as homosexuals and their supporters were wondering how this all came about, Cordileone gloated about his work in an interview with an obscure Catholic radio network. He bragged about how gay men and lesbians never saw him coming.
The San Franscsco Chronicle reports that the LGBTQ community and its leaders are less than thrilled with the announcement of Cordileone's elevation by the Vatican.
Gay leaders in San Francisco questioned how Cordileone would fit in with the city.
"This isn't a marriage made in heaven," said Tom Ammiano, a gay state assemblyman who represents San Francisco.
Ammiano said he would be willing to talk with Cordileone about gay marriage.
"If there is ever a change in attitude there, I am willing to talk turkey - if he ever wanted to change his position," he said.
Cordileone is chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.
"Only one idea of marriage can stand," he told the Chronicle in 2009. "If that's going to be considered bigoted, we're going to see our rights being taken away - as is already happening."
LGBTQ equality rights activists say that Bishop Cordileone’s extremist views are out of step with the majority of Catholics. A May 2012 Gallup poll found support for marriage equality among Catholics at more than 50 percent, as did a recent poll from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
Cordileone is set to be ordained as San Francisco’s new archbishop in early October. That same month, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide whether it will hear arguments on Prop 8.
El Paso Independent School District Targets Bullying After Gay Teen's Suicide
EL PASO, TX -- The El Paso Texas Independent School District school board strengthened its anti-discrimination policies this past week to prevent bullying of the school district's LGBT students and employees after an El Paso youth committed suicide after being bullied for being gay.
Brandon Elizares, 16, took his own life on June 2, after being bullied at school for two years because he did not want to hide the fact that he was gay. Brandon’s mother, Zachalyn Elizares, said the step taken by the board is a "baby step" in the right direction. Elizares added that she is coping with her son's death as well as she can, but that it's been especially hard preparing her other children, a daughter and son, for the coming school year.
The board on Tuesday prohibited discrimination based on gender identity and perceived sexuality. Before the policy update, the district had prohibited discrimination, including harassment, against any student because of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability or any other basis prohibited by law.
Daniel Rollings, president of PFLAG El Paso, said it's going to take more than policy updates to end bullying at schools.
"The school board "is doing this after the fact, and it's unfortunate because they should have been proactive and preventative," he said. "This is the kind of thing that should have been in place before Brandon was bullied and ultimately took his life."
Rollings, who is also the community liaison for the El Paso County Sheriff's Office Anti-Bullying Coalition, said three-quarters of bullying cases in El Paso have targeted the LGBT community.
"Schools need to have in-services and talk about issues that surround bullying of all kinds," Rollings said. "Nothing can be done unless it's reported. That's why safe zones are important so reporting can be made. Kids need to feel like they can report these instances."
The El Paso Times reported that EPISD is launching an anti-bullying campaign this fall.
"Teachers and staff will be provided with staff development aimed at identifying and addressing bullying at the campuses," schools spokeswoman Renee de Santos wrote the paper in an email. "Students in all grade levels will take part in activities aimed at bullying prevention."
For the coming school year, PFLAG and the University of Texas of El Paso's Social Work Department will offer "safe zone" training for teachers throughout West Texas and Southern New Mexico.
The training will show teachers how to foster a classroom environment in which students can come to them with concerns about discrimination, abuse and bullying and pose questions about drugs, alcohol and sexually transmitted diseases.
Teachers who undergo the training will receive a poster for their classroom that says "This is a safe zone," and encourages students to talk with someone they trust.
Boston's Mayor Walks Back Vow To Block Chick-Fil-A Expansion After ACLU Cautions Civic Leaders
BOSTON, MA -- Boston's Mayor Thomas Menino has backed down on his vow to block Chick-Fil-A from opening a new franchise across from City Hall.
“I can’t do that. That would be interference to his rights to go there,” Menino said, referring to company president Dan Cathy, who drew the mayor’s wrath by going public with his views against same-sex marriage.
The mayor added: “I make mistakes all the time. That’s a Menino-ism.”
The ACLU has warned governments against actions such as those threatened by officials in several cities.
“The government can regulate discrimination in employment or against customers, but what the government cannot do is to punish someone for their words,” said Adam Schwartz, senior attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.
“When an alderman refuses to allow a business to open because its owner has expressed a viewpoint the government disagrees with, the government is practicing viewpoint discrimination.”The ACLU “strongly supports” same-sex marriage Schwartz noted but he points out that "if a government can exclude a business for being against same-sex marriage, it can also exclude a business for being in support of same-sex marriage."
“But we also support the First Amendment,” he said. “We don’ think the government should exclude Chick-fil-A because of the anti-LGBT message. We believe this is clear cut."
Dr. Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law expert and professor at the George Washington University Law School in Washington said that Mayor Menino’s intentions raises “serious” constitutional concerns.
“It’s also a very slippery slope,” Turley said an email to LGBTQNation late Friday, “If a City Council started to punish companies because of the viewpoints of their chief operating officers, that would become a very long list of banned companies.”