Boston Mayor Tells Chick-fil-A There is No Room for Discrimination in MA

Dan Cathy, president of Atlanta-based fast food chain Chick-fil-A, has found himself in the center of a national debate following statements made regarding same-sex marriage. During a radio interview with Ken Coleman, Cathy, a devout Christian stated, “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage. I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we would have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is all about”.

In the wake of Cathy’s anti-gay rhetoric, Boston mayor Thomas Menino, fired back, advising Cathy to seek revenue elsewhere. Menino, a long time supporter of same-sex marriage, sent Cathy a strongly worded letter proclaiming Boston is “…full of pride for our support of same-sex marriage and our work to expand freedom for all people. We are proud that our state and our city have led the way for the country on equal marriage rights”. Menino continued, “There is no place for discrimination on Boston’s Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it”.

Taking Menino’s lead, the Silicon Valley town of Mountain View, California as well as Chicago have followed suit. Former White House Chief of Staff turned mayor, Rham Emanuel of Chicago announced, “Because of this man’s ignorance, I will now be denying Chick-Fil-A’s permit to open a restaurant in the First Ward”. In response to a petition brought by citizens of Mountain View, Chick-Fil-A has been temporarily blocked from opening in that community.

Menino’s stance has also met with some backlash. Questions have arisen as to his authority in blocking the restaurant chain and Cathy’s right to freedom of speech. While Dan Cathy has the civil right to freedom of speech, making controversial remarks, which have clearly alienated a significant population of potential customers, might not be the soundest of business plans. Attention has been drawn to the company’s considerable donations to organizations with anti-gay agendas, including Focus on The Family and the Marriage & Family Legacy Fund.

As Chick-fil-A clearly targets markets with more liberal demographics, particularly given the current economic climate, Cathy might well wish he had kept his personal beliefs out of the public eye.

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