Moral Low Ground

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MLG Exclusive: Citizens United (Yes, That One) Backs ‘Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day’

Corporations, according to one conservative group supporting a high-profile exercise in bigotry, are “people” with equal rights. Gays are not.

Citizens United, the organization made famous when the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of unlimited corporate election spending in 2010, was also an active backer of Wednesday’s ‘Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.’

Yesterday’s nationwide action drew massive crowds to Chick-fil-A restaurants across the nation in support of company president Dan Cathy’s opposition to marriage equality and its funding of hate groups that promote the criminalization of homosexuality. Chick-fil-A reported “record sales” as a result of the huge turnout.

Among those who supported Wednesday’s action, dubbed “National Day of Intolerance” by Fox News anchor Shep Smith, were former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and former GOP presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, who came up with the idea for ‘Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.’

While there has been widespread coverage of the Chick-fil-A controversy in the US corporate mainstream media, there has been no mention of Citizens United’s involvement. The conservative non-profit organization, whose stated mission is “assert[ing] American values of limited government, freedom of enterprise, strong families and national sovereignty and security,” has been an outspoken supporter of ‘Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.’

On its Facebook page, Citizens United hailed “the 400,000-plus patriots going to Chick-fil-A on August 1.”

The group also declared that “Citizens United stands with Chick-fil-A in supporting the protection of marriage.” Some observers noted the peculiar choice of words, first, because by ‘marriage,’ Citizens United clearly means only unions of one man and one woman and second, because by attacking gay and lesbian marriage rights, LGBT Americans would seem to be the people whose marriages need protecting. There is no effort underway to strip heterosexual couples of their marriage rights.

Citizens United also posted a photo of its president, David Bossie, observing ‘Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day’ by dining with Rick Santorum at one of the company’s restaurants.

“Chick-fil-A had its biggest sales day ever yesterday,” Bossie wrote on Facebook. “Americans flocked to the fast-food restaurant because they are fed up at how liberals have a double standard when it comes to the First Amendment.”

Citizens United gained worldwide fame– some would say infamy– following the 2010 Supreme Court case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, in which the court affirmed by a 5-4 vote that corporations are people endowed with constitutional free speech right to spend as much money as they wish influencing the outcome of American elections.

In his scathing Citizens United dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that “the court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the nation.”

“It will undoubtedly cripple the ability of ordinary citizens, Congress and the states to adopt even limited measures to protect against corporate domination of the electoral process.”

Indeed, the Citizens United ruling led to the rise of super PACs and a massive spending increase during the 2010 midterm election cycle.

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