Turns Out, Chicago Probably Shouldn't Block Chick-fil-A
Chicago's mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Boston mayor Thomas Menino in speaking out against Chick-fil-A, but it turns out that the government probably shouldn't block the restaurant from opening within city limits.
Representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union spoke to Fox News about politicans vowing to do what they can to keep Chick-fil-A away, and it turns out that banning the chain isn't such a great idea.
"The government can regulate discrimination in employment or against customers, but what the government cannot do is to punish someone for their words," ACLU senior attorny Adam Schwartz told Fox News. "When an alderman refuses to allow a business to open because its owner has expressed a viewpoint the government disagrees with, the government is practicing viewpoint discrimination."
Allowing the government to refuse spaces to companies because of individual beliefs is a slippery slope, Schwartz said, and could lead to other cities banning businesses because of pro-LGBT sentiments. Punishing Chick-fil-A because of CEO Dan Cathy's comments is also an infringement of the First Amendment.
Mayor Menino originally said he would do "everything [he] can" to stop Chick-fil-A from entering Boston city limits, saying, "You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population."
Similarly, Chicago mayor Emanuel told the Chicago Sun-Times, "Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago values. They’re not respectful of our residents, our neighbors and our family members. And if you’re gonna be part of the Chicago community, you should reflect Chicago values." This followed news that a Chicago alderman planned to block Chick-fil-A from opening in his ward.
San Francisco mayor Edwin Lee also tweeted his dissent, writing, "Closest #ChickFilA to San Francisco is 40 miles away & I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer."
Yet it seems that other than garnering public support for their sentiments, the government actually can't do much.
"Originally, I said I would do everything I can to stop them," Menino told the Boston Globe. "And that was mostly using the bully pulpit of being mayor of the city and getting public support. But I didn’t say I would not allow them to go for permits or anything like that. I just said we would do everything we can, bully pulpit-wise."
In related news, GLAAD is suing the chicken chain for gender discrimination, claiming an owner and operator of an outpost in Georgia terminated a female employee so she could remain a "stay-at-home mother." Not a good week for the chain, it seems.