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The politics of burgers & fries: Wendy’s vs. Equality

by J. Eric Peters

Some might say that boycotting Wendy’s restaurants would stretch beyond the limits of fairness, like fining a driver $500 for speeding 10 miles over the posted limit. After you read this, you might think otherwise.

Ever wonder where the money you spend on that Frostie or Classic Double really goes? Here’s the spill: every dollar you spend at Wendy’s gets divided up. Some of it goes to farmers who grow wheat to make hamburger buns. Some of it goes to Wendy’s corporate employees in Dublin, Ohio. And some of it goes to U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) and Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO), author of the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Local media have often mentioned that Wendy’s supports conservative politicians, but not with detailed comment. Getting the details required digging through the Federal Election Commission’s Disclosure Report search results at herndon1.sdrdc.com and other websites such as vote-smart.org. So what was dug up by dredging through post-2002 contributions from Wendy’s International Inc.’s Political Action Committee?

Just this: Wendy’s supports every single supporter of the U.S. Senate’s current attack on marriage equality. The deceitfully-named Marriage Protection Amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 1, has 30 sponsors currently. Every one of them is a Republican and every one of them has received money from Wendy’s directly (through Wendy’s PAC) or indirectly (from other political action committees that got money from Wendy’s).
How much support do you want to give the Marriage Protection Amendment?

Wendy’s PAC has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars since 2002 to other PACs and to about 75 candidates for Congress. Of those 75, 47 got elected and voted on issues evaluated by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

HRC’s reports show that most (31) of those 47 voted against equality for LGBT people every single time.

The NAACP’s reports show that Wendy’s candidates, including the notoriously racist Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), on average, voted for racial equality only 29.3 percent of the time.
The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the historic organization founded in 1950 that lobbied for and won the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, found Wendy’s candidates voted for civil rights, on average, only 17.4 percent of the time.

The American Association of University Women, which promotes equality for women and girls, lifelong education and positive societal change, found Wendy’s candidates voted for women’s equality, on average, only 37.8 of the time.

The National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) found Wendy’s candidates voted for women’s right to choose reproductive freedom, on average, only 10.3 percent of the time and most (45 out of 56 evaluated by NARAL) voted anti-choice every single time.
I don’t want to dismiss the fact that Wendy’s did, as widely reported by LGBT media, recently revise their personnel policy on non-discrimination to add sexual orientation and gender identity. They deserve credit for that.

McDonald’s and Yum! — the parent company of KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver’s and A&W — however, treat LGBT people much better than Wendy’s does. McDonald’s and Yum! have had non-discrimination policies protecting LGBT people for years. McDonald’s policy has been in place since 1999 and Yum! instituted their policy in 2004.

Yum! and McDonald’s go even further for us, according to HRC.org. Yum! offers health and medical benefits to same-sex partners and spouses of employees. McDonald’s also offers those benefits, along with dental, vision, adoption assistance and other benefits.
So if you are going to do the fast food thing — it’s time to make a choice. Do you want to super-size with some biggie fries and support the far-right extremist political agenda? If not, sounds like it’s time to gather ’round the good stuff at Pizza Hut or get goldn' with Mickey D’s.

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