American fast-food chains enforce “family values” abroad

You would think in a country where gay marriage is legal, a same-sex couple giving each other a casual peck on the lips in a McDonald’s wouldn’t be a big deal.

But a young gay couple was tossed out of a McDonald’s in Argentina yesterday after the manager spotted them kissing. And this wasn’t in an especially conservative part of the country. It was in Buenos Aires, a short walk from the official residence of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who signed some of the world’s most progressive LGBT rights legislation into law.

LGBT rights activists, lead by the groups Mateadas por la Diversidad and Free Zone, responded by holding a “massive kiss-in” in front of the McDonald’s Monday evening.

American-owned fast-food joints are an infamous danger zone for same-sex couples in Argentina, where the companies apparently see themselves as “family places” anathema to same-sex couples. Argentine journalist and LGBT activist Bruno Bimbi wrote in a recent article about the dilema of PDA:

The stories in Burger Kings and McDonald’s are famous. Every gay person in Buenos Aires knows one.

McDonald’s Argentina apparently apologized to the couple via their twitter feed, @McDonalds_Ar. “We’re sorry that happened. Please send us the address of the restaurant where it happened and your contact information by direct message,” the company wrote in a tweet addressed to @Lautibenitez.

I wonder what the global policy is on this from McDonald’s Corporation. I’ve sent a press inquiry to find out—will let you know what I hear.



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