The Associated Press reported Wednesday that a Chicago Alderman named Joe Moreno has pledged to block construction of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in his ward over Cathy’s anti-gay views. Boston Democratic Mayor Thomas Menino is also trying to block construction of a Chick-fil-a restaurant over its president’s anti-gay views.
Menino and Moreno have it wrong. Blocking construction of Chick-fil-a restaurants over Cathy’s views is a violation of Cathy’s First Amendment rights. Boston and Chicago have no more right to stop construction of Chick-fil-As based on an executive’s anti-gay views than New York City would have had the right to block construction of an Islamic community center blocks away from Ground Zero. The government blocking a business from opening based on the owner’s political views is a clear threat to everyone’s freedom of speech—being unpopular doesn’t mean you don’t have rights. It’s only by protecting the rights of those whose views we find odious that we can hope to secure them for ourselves.
That, plus the fact that unless the company actually bans LGBTQ people from eating there or applying for a job, it doesn’t matter if the president of the company is a bigoted homophobe, and just because he runs his business based on the writings in a book of myths and fables doesn’t make him ineligible to sell his chicken. You just don’t have to buy it.
Besides, threatening different beliefs with government sanctions is a right-wing schtick.