I’m a little late with chiming in on the whole Chick-Fil-A controversy, but I have to vent.
I think Chick-Fil-A has every right to operate wherever they want. A bold statement? Not really. It’s called freedom of speech, and in America, it’s protected by something called the First Amendment. Every American has the right to it. Even if you don’t support their position. Even if you think their opinions on gay marriage are antiquated and backwards. Even if you are angry that they make financial contributions to anti-gay political lobbying groups.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have equal rights to say that they disagree with and strongly disapprove of Dan Cathy’s comments. But they have no right to prevent Chick-Fil-A from operating in Boston and Chicago. With their very public and loud big bully threats, they have invoked Chicken Little’s famous cry of “The sky is falling!”
I’m really glad that this story gave mayors of major American urban cities the opportunity to reiterate their support for open and diverse communities (although, interestingly enough, standing in the Oval at the Hatch Shell in Boston to watch the Boston Pops perform over 20 years ago, I distinctly remembered feeling mildly uncomfortable that I was the only visible minority in the crowd of thousands). But Americans cannot speak out of both sides of their mouths, claiming on the one hand to be open to all people regardless of their religious beliefs, and then slamming a door shut on someone’s livelihood because they disagree with their religious beliefs.
Chick-Fil-A does not have a corporate policy that states that they will not serve the LGBT community in their restaurants. They do not post public signage declaring their position against LGBT. To our knowlede, people of LGBT persuasion have never been singled out for having been poorly treated in one of their restaurants. They don’t publicly lynch members of the LGBT community. All these examples would, of course, constitute a variant of hate-mongering and true discrimination, which would be deplorable and which the Constitution does not defend.
I say: let the free markets determine whether Chick-Fil-A will succeed as a business. Those who choose to boycott the restaurant chain can do so, those who want to support it can do so, and may the group with the biggest numbers win (I know which side I’m rooting for, but I can’t control the population). Welcome to capitalism, free markets, and the laws of supply and demand! Nothing new to see here, folks.