Boston Mayor Tom Menino recently told the Herald that he opposes the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A’s plans to open in Boston because of the firm’s president’s suggestion that gay marriage is “inviting God’s judgment on our nation.”
“Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion,” Menino told the Herald.
Menino isn’t alone. Northeastern University disinvited the group from opening on campus. In Chicago, an alderman is trying to stop the chain from opening there and there’s a similar effort underway in at least one California community. Even the Muppets aren’t happy about the company.
On the other hand blogger Dan Kennedy points out the reasons why it’s wrong for Menio to try and stop the chain (but has no problem with what happened at Northeastern, where he teaches and likely approves of the Muppets as well although he doesn’t mention it).
My gut reaction is that Menino is wrong. It seems to me that there wouldn’t be any end to this if government officials decided to approve or reject business licenses on the basis of their executives’ religious or political beliefs. There are First Amendment issues at stake as well. Can’t the head of a company say what he thinks without risking the wrath of the government?
What do you think? If Chick-fil-A wanted to open in Newton, would you want Mayor Setti Warren and/or the aldermen to take a stand?