Last we left the comedic reality show known as “Stupidity vs. Chick-fil-A“, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago alderman Joe Moreno and Philadelphia councilman Jim Kenney promised to block any Chick-fil-A plans to expand in their areas.
Aside from the obvious hypocrisy—which Moreno still refused to recognize—there was the issue of unconstitutional abuse of government authority.
We now have an update on the situation. (Side note: the liberal Chicago Tribune side publication RedEye—of which I am the token conservative columnist—rejected my article on the subject. Well, blogging is more real-time than a newspaper—this is now my second column on the topic before RedEye published its first—so I guess it’s providential that I wrote online rather than having RedEye print it.)
Chick-fil-A Support Keeps Pouring In
Amusingly, several other liberal, gay-marriage-supporting writers have also condemned Emanuel, Moreno, etc. since my original article.Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic points out Emanuel’s double standard that Emanuel campaigned for two presidents who opposed gay marriage.
The liberal Boston Globe Editorial Page denounced the same conduct by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and wrote: “which part of the First Amendment does Menino not understand? A business owner’s political or religious beliefs should not be a test for the worthiness of his or her application for a business license.”
Doug Mataconis from Outside the Beltway blasted Alderman Moreno not only as a liar but also as a heavy-handed law-breaker: “Chicago Alderman have extraordinary power over the issuance of building permits in their wards. [Since] an Alderman can grant or deny a permit for any reason,…there’s nothing to stop him, at least not inside the Chicago political system. Regardless of Chicago politics, though, it is really rather obvious that what Moreno is attempting to do here is completely unconstitutional.”
Glenn Greewald of Salon added, “[A business owner’s personal beliefs being irrelevant to a business license] is so basic that it’s just astounding that anyone, let alone Mayors of big cities, need to be told this.”
Mary Mitchell of the Chicago Sun-Times is in disbelief: “[T]he 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?”
Adam Serwer of the blog Mother Jones wrote: “Blocking construction of Chick-fil-a restaurants over Cathy’s views is a violation of Cathy’s First Amendment rights. If Chick-fil-A discriminates in hiring or refuses to serve customers on the basis of sexual orientation, the local authorities can and should hold him accountable. Until then, the politicians should get out of the way.”
Digby at Hullabaloo wrote: “[I]f this fellow wants to open his business there and conduct himself within the laws of the state, the beliefs of the owner is none of the state’s business.”
Atrios at his Eschaton blog wasn’t surprised that Rahm Emanuel said something “really horrible and stupid” regarding Chick-fil-A.
Remember, these people are all liberal and support gay marriage, not conservative Christians.
But here’s the real kicker.
The ACLU—of all voices—criticized Emanuel and Moreno, saying, “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. We don’t think the government should exclude Chick-fil-A because of the anti-LGBT message. We believe this is clear cut.”
Wow. When the ACLU tells a liberal he is doing something wrong, that is the ultimate slap in the face.
With the proverbial handwriting on the wall as they continue to get hammered by even their liberal comrades, both Emanuel and Moreno have backtracked from their stances, arguing that they never said they were going to block Chick-fil-A’s expansion plans.
In a statement to FoxNews.com, Sarah Hamilton, a spokeswoman for Emanuel, said: “He did not say that he would block or play any role in the company opening a new restaurant here. If they meet all the usual requirements, then they can open their restaurant, but their values aren’t reflective of our city.”
Really? But Emanuel is on record saying:
“If you are discriminating against a segment of the community, I don’t want you in the First Ward.”
Alderman Moreno also has tried to rewrite history. When Fox News reached him Thursday, he said traffic concerns were the basis of his objections to the store.
Really? But Moreno is on record saying:
“Initially, I had some traffic concerns with their plan. But then I heard the bigoted, homophobic comments by Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy, who recently came out against same-sex marriage. There are consequences for one’s actions, statements and beliefs. Because of this man’s ignorance, I will deny Chick-fil-A a permit to open a restaurant in my ward.” (emphasis added)
Please. Spare us the revisionist history. Just admit you were wrong. And stupid.
Even when backtracking, Emanuel and Moreno are still wrong.
Recall Emanuel said, “If they meet all the usual requirements, then they can open their restaurant, but their values aren’t reflective of our city.”
Maybe Emanuel needs to get out more.
As explained in my original post, at least half the city opposes gay marriage.
Take me, for example. I live in the city. And Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy’s values reflect mine.
So, Rahm, you’re wrong. (What a surprise.)
As for Moreno, recall he tried to blame traffic concerns as his reason for blocking Chick-fil-A from his ward.
But when pressed further and asked if his objection to the restaurant had nothing to do with Cathy’s beliefs, Moreno backtracked on his backtrack: “No, I’m not saying that, I’m not walking back from that. That’s another part of it. I think businesses should be neutral on that. They should be selling chicken.”
Apparently Moreno needs to get out more too. Newsflash, Joe: Chick-fil-A does sell chicken.
And Chick-fil-A, as a business, is neutral on the issue of homosexuality. As pointed out by me as well as liberal commentators, Chick-fil-A has never discriminated against anyone on the basis of their sexual orientation.
So Moreno is still wrong. (What a surprise.)
Even when backtracking, Emanuel and Moreno still don’t get it.
Chick-fil-A 2, Stupidity 0.