The Columbus Free Press

Do It !!!! Boycott Red Lobster and The Olive Garden

Aug 14, 1998

According to The Washington Blade (July 17, 1998, pg. 12, col. 1), Darden Restaurants, the owner of Red Lobster, Olive Garden, and the new Bahama Breeze restaurant chains, wants to be able to fire employees solely because those employees are Gay.

Darden Restaurants is going to court to try and get Cook County's (Illinois) human rights ordinance -- which prohibits discrimination based on race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, and other categories, in matters of employment, housing, public accommodations and credit transactions -- declared unconstitutional. Their action comes in response to an order from the Cook County Human Rights Commission that they reinstate a Gay employee who was repeatedly ridiculed and eventually fired because of his sexual orientation.

The restaurant is not trying to claim that it did not discriminate -- it is acknowledging that it did discriminate, and that civil rights laws which prevent them from acting on their bigotry are unconstitutional!

This is not just a company that supports an anti-Gay "foundation;" This is not just a company that discriminates and tries to cover it up; (although those examples are bad enough!) This is a company that is actively seeking to overturn important civil rights legislation -- which would open the doors for countless other firings, harassment, and other forms of discrimination.

Red Lobster and The Olive Garden are not establishments you should support. Next time you're tempted to eat at Red Lobster or The Olive Garden, imagine your Lesbian daughter/ sister/ granddaughter/ aunt/ niece/friend/mother/ lover/ self...being fired solely because she's a lesbian -- for no other reason. Or imagine your Gay son/ brother/ grandson/ uncle/ nephew/friend/ father/ lover/ self losing his housing - or being unable to find a place to live -- solely because he's Gay. There are hundreds of other restaurants out there -- ones that aren't using your money to take away the civil rights of those you know and love. Patronize them, but not Red Lobster or The Olive Garden.

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