Alderman going overboard on Chick-Fil-A bullying
BY MARY MITCHELL firstname.lastname@example.org July 25, 2012 9:14PM
Although no line was formed in the early afternoon on Wednesday, online promotional material indicates the first one-hundred qualified participants in line will receive a free meal for one year at the new Chick-fil-A on Chicago Avenue in Chicago. June 15, 2011. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times
Updated: August 27, 2012 11:22AM
I don’t have to shake the dust off my Bible when I go to church.
But I’m not one of those people that oppose gay marriage.
Still, some advocates for the gay community are going way overboard.
For instance, Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno’s threat to stop Chick-fil-A from opening a fast-food restaurant in his ward is not only ridiculous; it’s dangerous.
In a body as corrupt as the Chicago City Council has proven to be, we don’t need to give aldermen another excuse to open a bag of tricks.
Moreno is vowing to use his aldermanic prerogative to stop Chick-fil-A from getting a zoning permit it needs to build in the Logan Square neighborhood. He made the threat because the restaurant’s president, Dan Cathy, supports the biblical definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.
The Atlanta-based fast-food restaurant chain has been in the crosshairs of gay rights groups since Cathy replied “guilty as charged” when he was asked about the company’s backing of families led by a heterosexual couple.
“Same-sex marriage, same-sex couples — that’s the civil rights fight of our time,” Moreno told the Sun-Times on Wednesday.
“To have those discriminatory policies from the top down is just not something we are open to . . . If he’s in the business of selling chicken in Chicago, he should be in the business of having equal rights for everyone. Period.”
Apparently, Mayor Rahm Emanuel agrees, saying, “Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values.” Thomas M. Menino, Boston’s mayor, has also vowed to deny the restaurant chain a permit to build there.
The problem with this sanctimonious dissing of Chick-fil-A is that there is no proof the business has discriminated against gay couples, let alone any of its customers or employees.
In fact, company executives assured Moreno they would leave the debate about gay rights to the politicians and government.
But those assurances apparently aren’t good enough.
Moreno is attempting to deny Chick-fil-A the right to do business in the 1st Ward because he doesn’t like Cathy’s religious beliefs, and that’s just wrong.
Do these same rules apply to business owners that are Muslims, Jews, Catholics, and Jehovah’s Witnesses? I mean, what the heck happened to religious freedom?
People have a choice of not patronizing this fast food restaurant.
But the city shouldn’t be bullying this CEO because an alderman disagrees with his interpretation of the Bible.
If this is allowed, what’s next?
Will the city start granting business permits based on whether or not a company’s owner supports gay marriage?
Will prospective business investors be required to check off a box indicating they believe marriage can be between same sex couples before they are allowed to do business in the city?
Is that where we’ve arrived?
Quite frankly, the level of outrage over Cathy’s comments is insulting when you consider Chicago’s bar scene.
As long as I can recall, bars on the North Side and on Division Street have used bogus dress codes to keep African Americans out of trendy clubs.
Last year, a white female general manager of a popular bar in Lincoln Park filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the owner of Fuze (formerly known as Skybar) routinely used illegal tactics to limit the number of African Americans in the club.
In 2009, the city was embarrassed when six Washington University seniors put a spotlight on the problem when they were barred from Mothers because a security guard falsely claimed they were wearing “baggy” pants.
Although most people know these so-called dress codes are used discriminatorily, elected officials haven’t said a word, and nothing has changed.
But the very idea that Cathy would not support same-sex marriage has put this business owner at the mercy of our City Council.
Besides threatening to block Chick-Fil-A’s project, Moreno is demanding the business agree to work with LGBT groups in terms of hiring.
The fact that Moreno can make such demands without any proof that Chick-Fil-A has broken any city ordinance banning discrimination is alarming.
But Cathy should not give Moreno the satisfaction of groveling.
Lord knows, the people on the South and West Sides don’t need another fast-food restaurant.
But they could definitely use the jobs.