Famous designers Domenico Dolce and Steffano Gabbana made headlines last week when they made a public statement saying they opposed child adoptions by gay couples. The statement confused many because both men are gay.
“We oppose gay adoptions,” the designers said in Italian magazine Panorama. “The only family is the traditional one. No chemical offsprings and rented uterus: life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed.”
Of course, immediately afterward, many celebrities came forward and expressed their outrage at the designers’ opinions, encouraging a permanent boycott of all Dolce & Gabbana products. Those celebrities included Madonna, Elton John, Ellen DeGeneres, Victoria Beckham, Ricky Martin, Courtney Love and many others.
Here is where my own protest comes in. Slowly but surely, we have become a society where offending someone is one of the worst things you can do.
Remember the Chick-fil-A boycott from 2012? Dan Cathy, president and CEO of Chick-fil-A, said in a radio interview that he opposed same-sex marriage for biblical reasons. In response, not only did thousands of protesters organize a boycott, but the mayors of Boston and Chicago announced they would not allow the restaurant to add any more franchises in the cities unless they changed their stance on gay marriage.
Let’s compare these two instances: all three men made their statements in interviews in response to a direct question about the topic. All three men answered honestly. None of them went out of their way to make a public statement condemning a certain lifestyle, yet they all received overwhelming backlash. The one difference is that Cathy had his own supporters who rallied in his defense after the controversy. Profits actually increased in the aftermath.
That doesn’t look like it will happen for Dolce and Gabbana, though it’s a bit early to tell. So I have to ask: what is so unforgivable about what they said?
I could understand protesting those kinds of statements if they were made by a politician or lawmaker who had actual influence over certain people’s legal rights. But Dolce and Gabbana do not fall under that category. They make pretty dresses, not legislation.
The idea here seems to be something like, “We believe in complete freedom and equal rights for everyone. But if you have an opinion different from mine, you will be punished.” In what way does that kind of thinking encompass freedom?
Were their comments insensitive? Ignorant? That’s not a yes-or-no question. That’s for each individual to decide for him or herself. But whatever each individual decides on that issue, it’s important to remember that neither Dolce nor Gabbana can stop anyone from adopting a child.
Our first amendment right to free speech is one of the things that makes our country so great: when everyone is allowed to discuss issues freely and openly and express every opinion, it allows the people to consider every angle before making a decision. And in a democratic society, the majority wins.
So fight for your causes and opinions based on what you believe is right. Just don’t try to take away anyone else’s right to the same freedom.