Rahm Emanuel: No regrets on my Chick fil-A comments
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org July 30, 2012 2:04PM
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he has no regrets about saying that “Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago’s values.” | Rich Hein~Sun-Times
Updated: September 1, 2012 6:12AM
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Monday he has no regrets about saying that “Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago’s values” because the company president opposes gay marriage.
“No. I don’t” regret it, the mayor said under questioning at an unrelated jobs announcement.
“And the simple reason is, when it comes to values, there’s a policy as it relates to gay marriage. The values of our city are ones that welcome and recognize that, and I will continue to fight for that.”
Last week, Emanuel hinted strongly that he was prepared to join Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) in blocking Chick-fil-A from opening its first free-standing Chicago store in Logan Square.
Both men cited Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy’s public opposition to gay marriage.
Cathy was quoted earlier this month as saying he was “guilty as charged” for supporting what he called the “biblical definition” of marriage as between a man and a woman.
His comments infuriated gay rights activists across the nation, prompting their political allies to take a stand against the company.
Asked last week whether the chain that specializes in chicken sandwiches should be allowed to expand in Chicago, Emanuel said, “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.”
Conservatives promptly accused Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff now serving as co-chairman of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, of using a political litmus test to determine public policy.
That prompted the mayor to soften his earlier opposition.
“The Mayor simply said that Chick-fil-a’s CEO does not share Chicago’s values. He did not say that he would block or play any role in the company opening a new restaurant here,” mayoral press secretary Tarrah Cooper said the following day. “If they meet all the usual requirements, then they can open their restaurant, but he does not believe the CEO’s values are reflective of our city.”
Chick-fil-A tried to put out the political fire with a statement that said its restaurants “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”
Obviously referring to the political minefield that Cathy stepped into, the statement said, “Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”
The Chick-fil-A controversy marked the second time in recent months that Emanuel had threatened to use his vast governmental powers to block political dissent.
Earlier this year, the mayor cut off negotiations on a $300 million plan to renovate Wrigley Field in anger over the conservative politics of Joe Ricketts, the billionaire patriarch of the family that owns the Cubs.
Emanuel was furious at Joe Ricketts for working with high-profile Republican strategists on a $10 million plan to resurrect the Jeremiah Wright controversy against President Barack Obama.
Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts responded by insisting that neither he nor any member of the Ricketts family would condone such “racially insensitive” attack ads against Obama because “that’s not who we are.”