Chicago Alderman Says Chick-fil-A Is Not Welcome In His Ward July 25, 2012

Chicago Alderman Says Chick-fil-A Is Not Welcome In His Ward

A couple days ago, I wrote about how Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy affirmed his anti-gay marriage stance, and about the backlash that was created.  For instance, August 3rd is being declared National Same-Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A.

There were a few responses from readers saying “I don’t get the point of this — you’re not going to change Cathy’s mind about gay marriage.”  And it’s a fair point, I suppose.  Maybe we’ll annoy some employees, but what does it accomplish in the big picture?

Then, this morning, I read this headline:

Yes!  Yes to this!  This is why we do this kind of thing.  Maybe we won’t change Cathy’s mind about whether or not gay people deserve the right to marry the person they love, but we can at least make it known that sharing a bigoted opinion comes with consequences.

Chicago Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno announced that he plans to block Chick-fil-A from building a second Chicago location in his ward.

“If you are discriminating against a segment of the community, I don’t want you in the 1st Ward,” Moreno told the Tribune on Tuesday.

Moreno stated his position in strong terms, referring to Cathy’s “bigoted, homophobic comments” in a proposed opinion page piece that an aide also sent to Tribune reporters. “Because of this man’s ignorance, I will now be denying Chick-fil-A’s permit to open a restaurant in the 1st Ward.”

The alderman has the ideological support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values,” the mayor said in a statement when asked about Moreno’s decision. “They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty.”

My heart swells with pride!  Especially when Alderman Moreno addresses First Amendment concerns: “You have the right to say what you want to say, but zoning is not a right.”

Do I think Chick-fil-A is going to go out of business because of things like this?  No, but if they keep getting blocked from opening stores, and if other companies continue to refuse to do business with them, maybe they’ll think twice before donating to anti-gay groups.

(By the way, if you haven’t seen it yet, the letter to Dan Cathy from Boston’s Mayor Thomas Menino is fantastic as well.)

***Update***: [From Hemant] For what it’s worth, this is a legal move called “Aldermanic privilege.” Aldermen can do what they feel is best for their part of the city — it’s the same reasoning Moreno used to keep Walmart from building a store in the city last year.

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  • Can someone explain to me how this is any different then what Murfreesboro did to its Muslim community by trying to prevent them from opening a church?

  • observer

    Immature I know, but I couldn’t resist.

  • Onamission5

    I am so relieved that the LGBT rights movement finally has political teeth. When I first joined the fight 25 years ago, I honestly thought that having effective, outspoken support in even local branches of government was a pipe dream. A pipe dream I was still more than willing to work for, but a pipe dream nonetheless.

    Thank you, Alderman. Thank you, Mayors.

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    I’m not sure that he has any legal ability to block Chick-Fil-A, nor should have that ability, provided that the restaurant complies with anti-discrimination laws.

    However, the statements from Moreno and Menino are greatly appreciated! We are finally reaching a point where it is unacceptable to be against gay-marriage.

  • Onamission5

    The difference lies in the fact that opening multiple locations of fast food franchises is not a constitutionally protected right, and chick -fil-a franchise owners are not in and of themselves a protected group.

  • The Captain

    Ahhh Jessica,  this is not something to be supportive of. This is nothing but bullying of someone who has an religious opinion you don’t like. This is what christians have been doing to us atheist for years and it’s sad to see you support it when you have the upper hand. Chick-fil-a restaurants do not discriminate in who they hire, or who they will serve (no one has made that allegation) so frankly there is no reason to deny them zoning for the religious beliefs of the owners no matter how wrong we think they are.

    This is no different that if a Texas town came out and said it would deny zoning permits to any business owned by an atheist who supported taxing churches. I somehow highly doubt you would come out in support of the town to prevent that owner for opening a business!

  • The Captain

    ” opening multiple locations of fast food franchises is not a constitutionally protected right” actually it is. If the business is operated within the law (and no one is saying that the stores themselves discriminate) then the personal beliefs of the owners can not be used as a basis for denying a zoning permit. 

  • Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences of that speech.  He can spew hate (or his ‘views’ on marriage equality) all he wants but that doesn’t mean that the public cannot refuse to frequent his stores or neighborhoods cannot decide that they don’t want to be affiliated with such practices and/or beliefs.

    If it makes you understand any better – replace ‘gay’ with ‘black’… would you be okay with denying them a permit if they publicly discriminated against people based on race?  If their profits went to organizations that were specifically racist such as Stormfront or the American Nazi Party?  

  • Can you provide me with any jurisprudence (case law) to establish the allegation that “opening multiple locations of fast food franchises is not a constitutionally protected right?”  I always thought the First Amendment protected both groups and individuals.   While what Chick-fil-A is fighting for is disgusting in my opinion, they’re not doing anything illegal by donating to conservative advocacy groups. They’re not, as far as I am aware of, breaking any of the anti-discrimation laws as rooted within the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

  • John Small Berries

    Is there a legal basis for denying permits to people or organizations based on who they donate money to?

  • Randomfactor

    Seconded.  No government agency should have the ability to deny public permits on the basis of private behavior in this way.

  • Randomfactor

    Freedom of speech does indeed mean freedom from GOVERNMENTAL consequences of that speech.

    Individuals can boycott the restaurant; the zoning board can’t.

  • Aaronlane

     I agree. It’s one thing to decide not to patronize the business because you disagree with their stance. It’s another thing to use the force of government to enforce morality, even ones you think are right.

  • The Captain

    No one has accused the stores of discriminating in either hiring or service, so replace “Chick-fi-A” with “JCPenny”, is it then suddenly O.K. for a Texas town to prevent them from opening a store since they use gay people in their ads?

  • There’s a difference between people choosing of their own volition not to support a restaurant because they do not like their stances and the government preventing them from doing it for the same reason.

    Also, your example, about replacing “gay” with “black,” doesn’t change anything, because I’m talking about the Constitution and not personal preference.  The fact of the matter is that businesses that deal in interstate commerce, which is most businesses now a days, are prohibited from denying access or hiring for racial, religious, gender, and sexual orientation.  But that’s it.  They’re free, as far as I know, to donate money to conservative advocacy groups that push for same-sex marriage bans.  But if you show me any case law, or even laws passed by Congress, I’ll gladly change my opinion.

  • I have to agree with the other comments here – this is NOT kosher.  Playing games with zoning laws just because you don’t like what somebody says *is* government suppression of free speech.  We wouldn’t tolerate it if the other side did it to Starbucks, Apple or any of the other fantastic organizations supporting LGBT rights, so we shouldn’t tolerate it just because we don’t like Chick-Fil-A.  Can’t get behind Alderman Moreno here.

  • Onamission5

    I am looking, but so far am not finding anything either definitively in favor of or in conflict with my statement. If I keep having no luck, I may have to retract my claim.

  • fett101

    But are they publicly and legally discriminating against gay people? Are they denying them jobs, giving them decreased wages, or denying them service? I’ve not heard any news of such. If/When gay marriage is legalized in whatever states Chick-Fil-A operates maybe they’ll try denying them benefits but otherwise Chick-Fil-A is operating well within the law.

    It’s also perfectly legal for a company to donate to hate groups. Yes, the local population can decide to not support a business doing so but for the government to deny them the ability to operate probably runs counter to the law.

  •  By all means, if you find anything either way, let me know.

  • This is not a good thing. There’s been no suggestion that C-f-A has violated any fair employment laws. Its owner happens to be anti-gay. That’s his right. If a business can be excluded from an area simply because of the beliefs of its owner, it’s we atheists who are more likely to be impacted!

    Let the market decide if C-f-A should be at that location. Not some Chicago alderman.

  • AJKamper

    Are you people freaking kidding me? Do you really think it’s appropriate for the government to discriminate against people based upon their stated political beliefs? Despite being members of a discriminated-against group yourselves?

    You should be ashamed of yourselves. I am completely serious. As an atheist, I’m ashamed to be associated with you. Get some perspective.

  • Kas Roth

    I’m a bit confused. How is denying a same sex couples the protections of a legal marriage a “religious matter” I’m a human being and deserve to be able to have the same protections other human beings have. 

  • According to the article there is…  “Moreno is relying on a rarely violated Chicago tradition known as aldermanic privilege, which dictates that City Council members defer to the opinion of the ward alderman on local issues.”
    He represents the will of his constituents… his constituents  dont want them there why should they have to let them open a store in their neighborhood?   Are you saying that people shouldnt have a say in what stores and businesses are permitted in their neighborhoods?

  • viddy_well

    “This is no different that if a Texas town came out and said it would deny zoning permits to any business owned by an atheist who supported taxing churches.”

    Actually, it’s a lot different.

    Churches are enjoying special privilege in their tax-exempt status. To remove this privilege would only put them on the same playing field as all other businesses. Chick-Fil-A actively wants to deny equal rights to a segment of the population.

    Also, Chick-Fil-A has given millions of dollars to anti-gay organizations, so it’s not just the CEO’s beliefs at play here.

    With that being said, I still think cities should let the consumers decide whether or not they want their money going towards these groups.

  • Kodie

    This is true. Northeastern University blocked a Chick-fil-A franchise that wanted to set up on campus… that’s their own zone.

    I’m not sure UMass would have the ability to do that. I’m not a lawyer. Chick-fil-A has their eye on a block of old historic buildings near Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall, directly across from the Freedom Trail and a monument to Holocaust Victims. And sort of downstairs from a consistent candidate in lists of 10 ugliest buildings in the world.

    There’s no valid reason to use “zone” as a policy against Chick-fil-A here, as when you go in these historic areas, it’s not like stepping back in time at all, it’s not a tourist “attraction,” per se, there’s already a McDonald’s alongside the pubs on that block; Faneuil Hall is a Boston gift shop, and Quincy Market is a shopping mall. It’s all cobblestone and hard to walk in sandals, but the experience is cheap as far as sightseeing. You can’t say it will ruin the atmosphere, you can’t say it will be out of place on any ground heretofore considered sacred and historical and preserved in any fashion. And people will eat there. Some will boycott, but its proposed location is where all the tourists go, people who agree with the policies anyway. It’s not for Bostonians. Has anyone asked the Union Oyster House where they donate money? I’m not trying to start any rumors, it’s just a question. I don’t even think Menino can say this is or would be the only bigoted corporation/business owner, by far, in that section of businesses.

    I do think it’s great of these mayors to explicitly state such an intention as something they politically stand for, even if they can’t actually block it from happening. It’s one thing to leave these things unsaid and let the chips fall, but to openly express a displeasure in the policies and donations of Chick-fil-A is appreciated.

  • The will of the constituents don’t necessarily matter.  Look at the constituents of Murfreesboro who didn’t want to have a Mosque built in their town.  The court said they do not have the authority to prevent people from doing that just because they don’t like Islam.  Same thing here.  Ultimately, if it’s the will of the people to not have Chick-fil-A in their neighborhood, they won’t shop there, and Chick-fil-A will have to shut the restaurant down anyway.

  • Onamission5

    Okay, what case law I am finding thus far has to do with commercial speech as defined by the Supreme Court, and the lack of 1st Amendment protections thereof, and not with non-commercial speech by business owners, which is protected.

    I so far have still not found anything to back up my statement that the right to open multiple franchises in a particular location is not constitutionally protected– or that it is, either– so I am going to retract my claim based upon a lack of evidence to support it. I am curious though how cities manage to get away with (for example) local ordinances barring franchise businesses from their downtown areas if the right to  open a franchise *is* constitutionally protected. I do know that’s a different beast than denying zoning or permits based upon the personal views of a business owner, but I’m still curious.

  • Nordog

    The New Totalitarians come bearing tolerance.

  • So the neighborhood should have to suffer first ?A business that wont do well taking up real eastate  that could be used for a business that would add to the community?  That doesn’t make sense.  

    Second – why are we comparing the building of a place of worship with a fast food resturaunt?  Seems an apples and oranges thing.
    If I dont want a strip club in my neighborhood – and the rest of my neighbors dont want it why should we be forced to allow it?

  •  Thank you for the update.  I appreciate it.

  • The Captain

    Actually none of the examples you give matter to the discussion in the least bit. My point was that a persons personal beliefs on those subjects can not be used as qualifiers for permit granting by the government.

    A persons opinion on the special status of churches, or the belief in who has what rights should not be disqualifies for business ownership by the government no matter which side those beliefs fall on.

  • I’ve got a bad feeling about this…

  • Snarf

     they do it all the time. everywhere.. usually they just make up some archaic building code violation rather than tell the truth though.

  • Bob Becker

    Moreno is dead wrong on this, and if he succeeds in blocking a permit solely on the basis of the owner’s expressed views on gay marriage or gays in general, I suspect he and the city will be sued, and will lose.  If ChickFilA is denying gays service, that would be another matter, but there is no suggestion that it is or has or will.  But to deny a business license when the owner has met the same requirements any other business has to meet to get a license would be a flat violation of the owner’s First Amendment Rights.  If that does happen, I hope the ignorant bigot who owns the joint sues and I hope he wins. Agents of government can NOT decide which expressions of opinion are acceptable and which are not [except within very narrow limits:  yelling fire in a crowded theater, incitement to riot, etc.] and they absolutely cannot, again within those narrow limits, punish the expression of ideas they do not like, no matter how distasteful they may find them.   And I also resent the Councilman arrogating to himself the power to decide what all of Chicago thinks on the matter.   

    He’s dead flat wrong on the merits on this one.   

  • It makes perfect sense to me, Stephanie.  A person has a right to put build a restaurant or a church as long as they’re not breaking any laws in the process.  Donating to conservative groups that push to protect the ban on same-sex marriage isn’t illegal.

    There are lots of things that I don’t want in my area, for example another Baptist church that’s under construction, but my right to not want these things here does not necessarily supersede the right of the persons who does.  In some instances, yes, my right to be free from some imposition does supersede the right of the person who wishes to engage in the act I wish to be free from, like cigarette smoke, which is why localities put up smoking zones.  But Chick-fil-A opening a restaurant?  I’m afraid not.

  • The Captain

    So then you support the right of christians to keep an atheist owned business, jewish deli, or mosque from opening up in their town then?

  • Coyotenose

    I appreciate the sentiment, but I don’t see how this is Constitutional or ethical.

  • Min

    I think you are confused.  Chik-fil-A is not unwelcome because they’re owned by Christians.  There are many Christian-owned businesses that are welcome.  They are unwelcome because they donate money to groups that actively discriminate against homosexuals and oppose homosexual marriage.  The origin of that conviction doesn’t matter.

    Would it be ok for Chik-fil-A to donate money to the KKK if Dan Cathy believed his religion commanded him to oppress black people?

  •  Unfortunately Chik-Fil-A donates a significant amount of money to politicians who take a stance against same-sex marriages. This is a problem when the CEO uses his private business’ money to enforce his personal belief against same-sex marriage. It doesn’t matter if they do not discriminate in who they hire or who they serve…we’ll stop bullying them when they stop giving money.

  • TheExpatriate700

    I would oppose this. We can show our opposition to Chick-fil-A without making the company a perceived martyr to “big government.”  The way to get the point across to Chick-fil-A is to boycott them.

  • ReadsInTrees

    Since Chick-fil-a holds the same opinion of same-sex marriage as does the state of Illinois, this guy’s standing is even weaker. The restaurant is only as discriminatory as the state is.

  • rx7ward

     “You people”? Seriously? Who the F are you to scold anyone?

    If you’ve bothered to read the comments here, a vast majority of them disagree with the article. Maybe your complaints would be valid if directed to the author of the OP, but “you people”? Give me a f’in break!

  • rx7ward

     I think you’re lost. Stormfront and WND are over there —> …

  • rlrose328

    I can’t agree with you, Jessica.  I detest Dan Cathy’s point of view, but I don’t think it’s right for government to block a business from being established due to the bigoted views of its owners when the business itself has, from all reports, no ties to said bigoted view.  They do not discriminate in their hiring practices and they pay taxes.  They hire local people. 

    Let them build their business and let the people vote with their dollar.  I understand said dollars are then used to contribute to bigoted causes, but that is his right just as it is our right to protest said donations.

    This is America where businesses should flourish as long as they are legally run.  It is a bad precident to start denying them the right to build and operate a business because of the CEOs personal beliefs.

  • But that’s not the comparison.  Strip clubs operate under very strict zoning laws.  There are no zoning laws that can differentiate between a McDonald’s and a Chick-Fil-A.  If you don’t want a Chick-Fil-A in your neighborhood, don’t eat there.  Eventually lack of sales will drive them out of the area.  But you can’t deny them a permit for a business that would otherwise be allowed to operate in your neighborhood solely because of the political views of the owner.

  • rhodent

    The issue is not what Dan Cathy believes as an individual.  The issue is that there is a company that donates to groups that try to codify discrimination and hatred into state constitutions (often successfully) and our federal constitution (not yet successful, and hopefully they never will be).  I sincerely doubt that Proco Moreno and Thomas Menino would be trying to block Chick-Fil-A from opening stores if Chick-Fil-A was not making these donations, regardless of what Dan Cathy had to say on the issue of same-sex marriage.

    For this reason, your comparison is a false equivalency.  This is not the equivalent of a small town in Texas denying an atheist who supports the taxing of churches (which isn’t discrimination in the first place) a business permit.  It is the equivalent of a small town in Texas denying a business permit to a multi-billion dollar company that makes donations to an organization (if one existed) trying to deny the right of Christians to pray in their own bedrooms.

  • The Captain

    Communities can prevent zoning permits on the TYPE of business in their neighborhood, like the strip club example. But they can not do that based on the beliefs of who owns the business. 

    So in you example, yes a community can get together and say no strip clubs allowed (even this has it’s limits) but as soon as they allow one strip club to go up, they can not deny the next one from opening because the owner is jewish or gives to the ACLU. Get it now!?

  • Robert Mathiesen

    Opening a mosque is a religious act.  Opening a business is not.  There’s nothing sacred about making money.

  • Nordog

    Yeah, no.  What this action seeks to do is effectively criminalize private legal political activity simply because you don’t agree with it.
    What is it about the totalitarians?  They never think that the beast they seek to release will never turn on and devour them?
    This effort, like the ObamaCare Individual Mandate, and the HHS contraceptive mandate, is apparently so intoxicating to those who support it as a way to “get back at” those pesky “anti-gay” “anti-woman” or “anti-whatever” people, that the advocates cannot even comprehend that the path they are on will eventually turn on them and destroy them.
    This seems to confirm the old saw that man is doomed to repeat history.  Currently I see many new Robespierres running around in “heart swelling pride” and gleeful schadenfreude, completely oblivious to the risk they run of loosing their heads.
    Some think that Chick fil A has it coming so this is a good thing.  I say this is a bad thing for everyone, but “Women and minorities will be hardest hit.”

  • Coyotenose

     Behold the beam in your own eye.

  • The Captain

    Nothing you said that he does is illegal. Would it be O.k. for him to donate to the KKK? No, the KKK is a designated terrorist organization and as such no one can legally donate to them. But if he where to give his money to a legal organization that held similar views, it still would not be the governments role to deny him a zoning permit for  business based on that no more that it would be O.k. for Texas to deny me a zoning permit because I gave to theACLU!

  • The Captain

    But it is his right to do those things, yet you would use the government to deny him a zoning permit based on legal personal activities you disagree with.

    Your right, you are a bully! You are no different than the christians who I have spent my whole life fighting against. You would use the force of government and law to force you personal beliefs on to others. I deeply hope you fail in convincing others to use your tactics since I find myself wondering what political or personal beliefs I hold that you would justify having the government discriminate against me for. You bring shame onto the gay rights movement.

  • Kodie

     I can’t speak for Chicago but there is a note in this post about similar happenings in Boston. There are only 2 Chick-fil-As in Massachusetts. The 3rd one being proposed for the vacancy left by a bar/grill called “The Purple Shamrock” is dead central to tourist traffic. Massachusetts is the first state in the US to allow gay people to get married; their prior attempt to establish an outlet was on the campus at Northeastern University, and the students voted to block it.

    I don’t know if anyone in Boston will eat there, but plenty of tourists will. In my opinion, I would say “block it” in theory that it doesn’t belong, but it’s a restaurant taking over a restaurant space and the addition of a Chick-fil-A will not really make the vicinity any more crass than it already is.

  • The Captain

    ”  It is the equivalent of a small town in Texas denying a business permit to a multi-billion dollar company that makes donations to an organization (if one existed) trying to deny the right of Christians to pray in their own bedrooms.” Which the small town would still not have the right to deny zoning to them for that! YOu are advocating for thought crimes to be a judgment for zoning then.

  • Valerie C.

    “Moreno said he has an ace in his back pocket if he runs into legal trouble: He plans to cite traffic and congestion issues.” –

  • So he’s going to manufacture reasons not to allow them to operate?  I sincerely doubt that flies, and if it somehow does and another fast-food restaurant opens up at that location, Chick-Fil-A is going to sue the fuck out of Chicago.  And win. And probably donate the money to more anti-gay causes.

  • The Vicar

    Heh. Although I (reluctantly) have to admit that this is illegal and should be opposed, it’s interesting to see a Chicago machine politician (all aldermen in Chicago are machine politicians) actually take a stand for a liberal position, however misguidedly. After all, the Chicago machine heartily embraced Rahm Emmanuel, the guy who was mocking and swearing at liberals.

    It will be interesting, presuming that the alderman’s ban actually goes into effect, to see what will happen. It will only be reversed if Chick-fil-A challenges it in court, and they may not want to do that because it will bring massive publicity to their CEO’s idiocy just about the time that this all starts to die down again. By now, I’m pretty sure that everyone in Chick-fil-A’s corporate headquarters wishes that the guy had just kept his stupid mouth shut.

  • Houlahan

    To answer your question, Min – yes.  This is America.

  • Completely agree with you.  I am a marriage rights supporter with no qualification.  However, this city alderman is completely stepping out of bounds trying to dictate zoning based on the political opinions of the owners.  

    If the company is shown to not comply with any law, then absolutely don’t give them zoning.  But because you simply disagree with the politics of the owner?  That’s complete BS.

    Is he going to prevent a company from doing business in his city because they are affiliated with the Kochs?  Or because the owner may be a Cubs fan instead of a White Sox fan?  

    It’s complete crap.  

  • Upon further reflection, I think I have to agree that this is wrong. What wouldn’t be wrong however is constant protests outside the CFA until it closes.

  • Onamission5

    And thanks to you for the gentleness of your nudge which got me to look further into the claim I made. Damn I hate not being right, but this time I hate it a little less.

  • cipher

    Well, someone’s going to hell!

    (With Emanuel, it was a foregone conclusion – you know, him being a Democrat and all.)

  • Nordog

    For whatever it’s worth, I admire the approach and response you have made here.

  • Joseph

    And if it were reversed? If he was using “aldermanic privilege” (what a wonderfully anachronistically-sounding phrase that is– seriously!) to halt the construction of a wedding hall that specifically catered to gay weddings, I think everyone would be (rightfully) outraged. 

    Since the company itself doesn’t discriminate (and has said so publicly and often), there doesn’t seem much basis for the alderman to exercise the power of government just because of the personal beliefs of the owner of the chain.

  • This is stupid.  

    Chick-fil-A can easily file a lawsuit against the city for not allowing them to open a restaurant because of their CEO’s religious beliefs. In fact Moreno does them a favor by admitting that’s what he’s doing – blocking the permit because he does not like the opinion of the CEO. It’s not the place of government to punish people for their opinion, regardless of how stupid and bigoted their opinion may be. 

  • Also, it’s completely hypocritical to complain when the government pushes religion on everyone and then turn around and praise governmet action such as this.   

  • I’m completely for gay marriage, but this is ridiculous.  The government punishing for free speech is a very very dangerous precedent.  What if the alderman was blocking companies that had spoken in favor of gay marriage??  

  • ***Update***: [From Hemant] For what it’s
    worth, this is a legal move called “Aldermanic privilege.” Aldermen can
    do what they feel is best for their part of the city — it’s the same
    reasoning Moreno used to keep Walmart from building a store in the city
    last year.

    It also helps explain Chicago’s well earned reputation as the most politically corrupt large city in the U.S.

  • Didn’t say it wasn’t corrupt. But it is legal.

  • It would be interesting to see it tested in court. I can see how an alderman could make a case against a Walmart, since it directly affects the economics of his district, and affects other merchants there. But to explicitly refuse zoning based on the philosophical view of a company’s owner? I don’t see that holding up too well to legal scrutiny, no matter what privilege the city’s charter grants.

  • Reginald Selkirk
  • I was about to say, basically, the same thing.  If Alderman’s actually have such authority, then city’s all around the nation have the power to step around our constitutional rights. Clearly, that violates any sense of supremacy, and negates the entire concept of “inalienable rights.”

  • Miko

    For the most part, they do.  Constitutional rights mainly define the relationship between the people/states and the federal government.  Some parts of the Bill of Rights have been construed to apply to other levels of governments as well under the incorporation argument (of the 14th amendment’s equal protection claims), but for the most part the federal Constitution doesn’t protect you from corrupt city government.

  • I also think this is wrong. Chick-fil-A isn’t breaking the law. I think the best course of action is for people to call attention to their anti-gay political activities and organize boycotts or protests. But leave the government out of it.

  • What I am seeing here is someone using a politically correct reason to justify their blocking a store opening. Doesn’t mean they actually are doing it for that reason, just stating it to get credit for taking that stance. They could simply state: Ummm… no, we want something more diverse in the area instead. But they chose to use this as the reason. With everyone else, I’m curious if this will stand. Naturally, his detractors will insist that in a time that “IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID!” he is obviously AGAINST creating jobs. Mark my words.

  • Patterrssonn

    Thanks for the hilarious hyperbole Nordog. Over the top nutjob paranoia always good for a laugh.

  • Nordog

    You would make Alinsky proud.

    Still, I find it amazing that a self-proclaimed oppressed minority would take such pleasure in actions that serve to replace the rule of law with the rule of men.

    Just saying.

  • amycas

    Wasn’t the mosque being built to serve the needs of the Muslims who did live in that town? I would think that they wouldn’t build a mosque at all if there were no Muslims who would need to use it. In other words, the mosque didn’t seem to be a case of “we don’t want that in our neighborhood.” It was a case of “we don’t want you to be allowed to worship in our neighborhood.” I think there’s a difference there.

  • rhodent

    Please read what I wrote more carefully.  I did not advocate for anything, much less anything that deserves comparisons to Ingsoc.  I simply pointed out that your argument was flawed, without saying anything about whether it is moral or legal for Moreno and/or Menino to try to deny Chick-Fil-A business permits.  And forgive me for saying this, but your response (particularly the “thoughtcrime” part) makes it apparent that you still don’t get my point.  Let me be explicit:

    1. The issue is not anything to do with what any particular thoughts.  It has to do with particular actions.  What thoughts led to these actions is not relevant to the issue at hand; they neither make an otherwise acceptable action unacceptable nor make an otherwise unacceptable action acceptable.

    2. The issue is not what Dan Cathy or any other individual does.  It has to do with what Chick-Fil-A does.  It is the fact that Chick-Fil-A directly makes these donations that causes government officials to advocate action be taken against Chick-Fil-A.

    Now, as to the question of whether Chicago, Boston, or anywhere else has the moral and/or legal authority to try to deny a business permit based on Chick-Fil-A’s actions.  Let’s start with the legal part first.  Most reasonable people would agee that American municipalities have the right to deny business permits to companies that discriminate; indeed, under certain circumstances it might even be required.  The questions then becomes whether what Chick-Fil-A is doing is sufficiently discriminatory to justify the anti-discrimination argument for denying Chick-Fil-A business permits.  Not being a lawyer, I won’t claim to know the answer to this.  I suspect many lawyers would be hesitant to say they know the answer to this, particularly if they didn’t specialize in constitutional law and/or didn’t know precisely what the municipalities’ zoning laws were.  I will simply state that my opinion, as a reasonably educated layman, is that the municipalities’ legal standing is neither airtight nor wholly deficient.

    As to the moral authority, I’m conflicted.  If Chick-Fil-A were directly hiring lobbyists to lobby for the passage of anti-gay legislation, I would say the moral authority (again, legal authority is a separate issue; see above) to deny them business permits exists; doing such would be a blatantly discriminatory act which had nothing to do with the practice of selling dead birds for human consumption.  If they were making public statements that they oppose same-sex marriage but doing nothing to advocate the passage of laws/amendments regarding the issue, then I would say the moral authority does not exist.  But what they are doing is between these two points, and I simply haven’t had the time to give that question the thought necessary to reach a conclusion.  I’m also not likely to give it that much thought; since I’m not in a position to make any zoning decisions and don’t live in a municipality considering this, there’s really no point. 

    All that being said, my original point remains: if there is to be reasoned discussion on this issue, then it needs to be on the actual issue as it exists: not that anyone is suggesting denying a business the right to do business because they don’t like what its owner thinks, but rather because they question the legality and/or morality of what the business does.  Anyone calling what’s going on here “thoughtcrime” is trying to argue something other than the actual issue.

  • amycas

    Upon more consideration I’m inclined to agree with you.

  • amycas

     Fuck you Nordog. This has nothing to do with the healthcare bill or the contraceptive mandate. Stop throwing out red herrings.

  • Nordog

    “Shut up!” she explained.


    Actually, all three issues have a great deal in common, such as the abuse of governmental power.  In two cases, the power is used to force a given behavior, in the other the power is used to prevent legal behavior.

    In any event, thanks for the lovely and well thought out reply.

  • jose

    This does look a bit too much like religious discrimination. What the guy thinks is his business… the town hall guy says “you are discriminating against a section of the community”, but thinking something is not discriminating. Only if the restaurant denied entrance or service to gays, then it would be discriminating.

  • jose

     (or if they didn’t hire gays, etc. I mean the activities of the company in general).

  • The Captain

    The actions are describing are all legal, and most large companies give money to political lobbying organizations of some sort. Be it lobbying for or against regulations or social causes. Now unless you are calling for any company that gives any money for any cause that is trying to influence government laws and policy to be denied permits then you are just applying an arbitrary burden on some political thought and not others. That is what makes this basically a “thought crime”. The “actions” they are taking are actions any citizen is free to take, the only difference is you do not agree with them.

    The position that there is some moral authority to do this rest entirely on the fact that you do not like the political position the company has taken. And you know what, I do not like it either. But that does not mean the government can take that into account when deciding zoning permits. If it does, then any political action by any individual or company becomes subject to approval of the ruling political party at the time. Under your reasoning a ruling republican party could deny zoning permits to people who give to PETA, or contribute to the ACLU. 

  • Wintermute472002

     Well, that’s the beauty of it, you see. The unearned deference paid to religion in this country means that all they have to do is claim that something is a religious matter, and the rest of us are all just supposed to accept that. It’s a ‘religious matter’ when they donate money to prevent marriage equality. It’s a religious matter when they refuse to cover contraception in their insurance plans.

    All the more reason to tear down religion.

  • TiltedHorizon

     Here I was thinking I would be the only one holding this opinion. Kudos to you for saving me the time and stating it better than I would have.

  • Drew M.


  • eskomo

    So, the company doesn’t discriminate against their employees or customers. But they publicly  and repeatedly state that they dislike gays and donate to anti-gay organizations. And how do employees or customers that do not hate gays feel about this? Welcome?

  • Patterrssonn

    I find it amazing that you came up with the phrase “self-proclaimed oppressed minority”. I don’t even know who you’re refering to gays? atheists? If it’s gays, I hate to break it to you but it aint just self-proclaimed, in my country I, and most other straight people proclaim it too.

    I’m gonna steal it though cause it’s perfect for whiny christians the ‘self-proclaimed oppressed majority’, beautiful.

    “replace the rule of law with the rule of men” Again kudos for the hyperbole, you are one first class drama queen.

    “They never think that the beast they seek to release will never turn on and devour them?” Fantastic stuff, but I think you might have saved that one for something with a little more gravitas than a city alderman giving the finger to an old bigot.

    I would make Alinsky proud? Is he bemused by paranoic nuttery too?

    And thanks for “just saying” I haven’t seen that old chestnut used in ages, never could figure out what it’s supposed to mean, but I do miss it if only for its amazing  banality.

  • Patterrssonn

    “Currently I see many new Robespierres running around in “heart swelling pride” and gleeful schadenfreude, completely oblivious to the risk they run of loosing their heads.”

    TFM man TFM

  • Nordog

    Ah atheists, you will know them by their love.

    Frat move eh?  Whatever.   Am I to assume that you always feel threatened and lash out at those whom you think are better educated than you?

    If your responses here possessed more than the ad hominems of a pendantic troll I would be tempted to address them.  But in the end you simply demonstrate, well, nothing of substance.

  • Patterrssonn

    Thanks for the weird gibberish Nordog, you may find this hard to believe but I’m a big fan of yours.

  • GregFromCos

    Came here to say this same thing. This is a horrible precedent in my opinion. I’d hope we Atheists can empathize if the shoe were on the other foot. Which it unfortunately often is.

  • Tonyin2002

    STUFF YOURSELVES WITH CHICK-FIL-A SAINTS; Because, Chicago’s Political “Prostitutes” Are Telling Chick-Fil-A To “Stuff It” ! Chicago’s 1st Ward Alderman, Joseph “Proco(pio)” Moreno, Has Gone On Record Saying He Is Opposed To A New Chick-Fil-A Planning To Open In Chicago’s Near-North-East Side. He Has The Support (& Backing, No Doubt In The Next Chicago Aldermanic-Election$) Of Closet-Sodomite-Mayor Rahm Emanuel; Who, Has Also Gone Publicly On Record & CBS-News Radio LYING LIKE THE DEVIL (Emanuel’s Spriritual Father) And Saying “Chick-Fil-A’s Values Are Not Chicago’s Values” ! I Believe DuSable (The True Historic Founder Of Chicago, IL), Dwight Lyman Moody (Founder Of The Moody Bible Institute) & Old-Fashioned Christian-Fundamentalist Evangelist, PAUL RADER, Would Unequivocally Disagree, Condemn & ANATHAMIZE Chicago’s Present Pro-Sodomite Mayor Rahm Emanuel For His HISTORICALLY PERVERTED WORDS About/Against CHICAGO, THE MORAL POSITION OF THE MAJORITY OF THE CITIZENS OF CHICAGO & THE PRESENT OPINION AGAINST THE SODOMITES & SODOMY TAKEN BY THE CITIZENS OF CHICAGO, IL, TODAY ! In 2011, Alderman Moreno Endorsed Mayoral Candidate Gery Chico–Whose Union Supporters Referred To Rahm Emanuel As “THAT WALL ST. JUDAS” ! **ALD. MORENO HAS “FLIPPED” & IS NOW A “JUDAS” HIMSELF !

  • Tonyin2002

    STUFF YOURSELVES WITH CHICK-FIL-A SAINTS; Because, Chicago’s Political “Prostitutes” Are Telling Chick-Fil-A To “Stuff It” ! Chicago’s 1st Ward Alderman, Joseph “Proco(pio)” Moreno, Has Gone On Record Saying He Is Opposed To A New Chick-Fil-A Planning To Open In Chicago’s Near-North-East Side. He Has The Support (& Backing, No Doubt In The Next Chicago Aldermanic-Election$) Of Closet-Sodomite-Mayor Rahm Emanuel; Who, Has Also Gone Publicly On Record & CBS-News Radio LYING LIKE THE DEVIL (Emanuel’s Spriritual Father) And Saying “Chick-Fil-A’s Values Are Not Chicago’s Values” ! I Believe DuSable (The True Historic Founder Of Chicago, IL), Dwight Lyman Moody (Founder Of The Moody Bible Institute) & Old-Fashioned Christian-Fundamentalist Evangelist, PAUL RADER, Would Unequivocally Disagree, Condemn & ANATHAMIZE Chicago’s Present Pro-Sodomite Mayor Rahm Emanuel For His HISTORICALLY PERVERTED WORDS About/Against CHICAGO, THE MORAL POSITION OF THE MAJORITY OF THE CITIZENS OF CHICAGO & THE PRESENT OPINION AGAINST THE SODOMITES & SODOMY TAKEN BY THE CITIZENS OF CHICAGO, IL, TODAY ! In 2011, Alderman Moreno Endorsed Mayoral Candidate Gery Chico–Whose Union Supporters Referred To Rahm Emanuel As “THAT WALL ST. JUDAS” ! **ALD. MORENO HAS “FLIPPED” & IS NOW A “JUDAS” HIMSELF !

  • Tonyin2002


  • JoshuaW

    I agree with most of you. I am gay, and I do not agree with a governmental body being able to deny a zoning permit based on ideological beliefs.I study law, and I am almost certain it is not constitutional to do so. It may not be a “right” to be able to obtain a permit, but it is a right to not have a decision like that based on your beliefs. It is a freedom of speech issue.  Although, I do know that  Chick-Fil-A is on a lot of college campuses, even mine. I do not believe it would be unconstitutional for  these colleges to not allow them to operate on their property, as it usually involves a contractual agreement. I know Ball state, my campus, prides itself on tolerance and diversity, so I really wish they would live up to that and not renew a contract with this corporation, or however it is organized. If a community does not want this business in their neighborhoods, the best way for them to get it out without violating anyone’s rights is to simply not spend their money there. 

  • JoshuaW

    My real issue would come in if they decided to stop serving people they either knew or assumed were gay. Even then, I don’t believe it would be illegal, as homosexuals are not a protected class under the civil rights act. Now if it were a black person, an old person, or an elderly person they refused to serve, they would be sued, fined, and made to comply because I am sure they engage in interstate commerce. Until homosexuals are added as a protected class, there is not a whole lot that one can do  about it in the legal sense. This should be what the gay community should focus on accomplishing. Everything else would follow. 

  • This is a matter of a city official using his elected position to punish a private business because they do not share his ideological beliefs and choe to exercise their 1st Amendment rights.  This undue influence  is illegal in Texas.  It is fine for the citizens of Chicago to boycott or protest or such, but having an elected official meading out punishment against C-F-L is just wrong and unethical.
    But typical Chicago thuggery from what some friends state.

  • The next thing you know, council members will be (if not already) denying permits and such to companies that support one political candidate or another that THEY do not support.  Again, this is just wrong and hopefully the voters will let him know that.

  • Benjamin Curtis

    I can’t believe any American is applauding these ac ts of unadulturated Stalinism.  

  • Baby_Raptor

    I have no real opinion on the matter at hand ATM, but I’m not sure that a huge corporation donating money to active political campaigns to deny a good chunk of the population their rights can be considered “private.” 

    There just doesn’t seem like there’s anything personal or private involved, other than their “deeply held personal belief.” 

  • Baby_Raptor

    Yup. Giving people equal rights sure is destructive! 

  • Baby_Raptor

    Atheists aren’t required to love. That’s Christians. Brush up a little before you come trolling next time.

  • I do not see how the Alderman can reject the permits. There is no legal reason to do so. If anything, this would perpetuate the fight instead of trying to come to some type of solution. But all I see is people wanting to fight on both sides. What happened to free speech? You can’t make someone change their beliefs. If you don’t like the biblical values and the traditional family they propose, then do not eat there. But do your own research and find out what Chick-Fil-A does and does not do. 

  • Jamiechalut

    Political opinions of the owners? Imagine that this was fifty years ago, and the owner of a business openly condemned interracial marriage, or publicly stated a prejudice against black people. Would it be ok for the alderman to deny a permit to that business based on the owner’s discriminatory remarks against a segment of the population? Or would you deem those “political opinions”, too?

  • Street gang members welcome….

  • amycas

     If you’ll read above you’ll see that I actually agree with those that say this alderman is out of bounds and we shouldn’t be supporting it. The part I disagree with is your characterization of the hhs and the contraceptive mandate. These things are not similar and should not be compared. I don’t want to be sucked into a debate about the mandate with you though, because I know that’s what you really wanted to begin with–to turn a discussion about whether or not we should be supporting this into another tired discussion of your ignorance about the mandate. That is why a hardy “fuck you” was needed. I’ve given you well thought out replies in the past and you ignore them, so “fuck you” again.

  • amycas

    No, it wouldn’t be ok for the alderman to deny a permit, as long as the business did not discriminate in hiring or servicing the population. 

  • amycas

     It’s even funnier because there are only a few people (the op included) who actually think this is a good thing. While I appreciate the sentiment, I don’t think it’s something we should support and I’ve stated as such. Maybe Nordog should read the comments better and direct his “totalitarian” bullshit at those who have said they agree.

  • Nordog

    Amycas, please note that my comment under discussion here (“New Totalitarians” etc.) was not explicitely directed to anyone, least of all you.

    If the shoe doesn’t fit, fine.  Don’t wear it.

    But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some here that do wear it.

  • Nordog

    Actually, I don’t care to debate the Obamarcare mandates here, though I do deny that those two examples are not at all similar to this case.

    Still, I find it interesting that you post here basically boils down to, “You’re wrong and I don’t want to talk about it.  Fuck off.”

    That’s kinda funny really.

    In any event it appears that while you and I disagree on that, we agree that the adlerman’s actions are inappropriate.

    So, that’s a good thing.  Right?

  • Nordog

    “Atheists aren’t required to love.”

    Apparently, they’re not required to recognize sarcasm either.

    So, you got that going for you.

  • Kodie

    Why don’t you have a direct discussion with people you’re accusing then. You just like to say stupid things in general and pretend you’re not insulting anyone. Have some balls to engage those people and be relevant, or admit you are just a troll with opinions that don’t actually fit in any intelligent discussion.

  • Nordog

    The way the alderman is attempting to do it, yes it is.

    Besides, if you’re going to live in the world of “individual rights trump all else” you need to get the wording right.

    No one has the authority to give or deny rights.  However, while someone can effectively deny someone’s rights by force, it is not the case that the absence of that force and the presence of that right is a case of someone granting a right to someone else.

    It’s the New Totalitarians that think rights are bestowed upon people from another.

  • Rjaerobic

    This is Chicago…what do you expect. Mr Moreno and many other liberals only support free speech if they agree with it. 

  • rhodent

    This is getting circular, so I’m going to make this my last post on the subject.  Again, the term “thoughtcrime” does not apply because it is not thoughts but actions which are the point of contention.  Again, the thoughts motivating these actions neither make an otherwise acceptable action unacceptable nor make an otherwise unacceptable action acceptable.  Again, my point in making my comment was not to take a position on whether it would justifiable to take efforts to block Chick-Fil-A from opening locations in certain areas, but to make it clear that those seeking to do so were doing so based not on thoughts but on actions.

    You seem convinced that the actions in question are (legally) acceptable to an extent that it would be unjustified to try to block Chick-Fil-A.  You may very well be right; as I said before, I don’t claim to know the answer because I am not a lawyer nor am I familiar with the laws of the municipalities in question.  But frankly, I am not interested in discussing that aspect.  Part of this is because (as just noted) I don’t claim to know the answer.  The other part is that in all honesty, I doubt anyone else posting on this page has the expertise needed to make a definitive pronouncement, either. 

  • anon101

    wander what the bridge on the logo endorsed. Building bridges?
    Crossing Bridges? Worshiping bridges? The point is that the
    church/cross in the logo does not endorse religion. If you would
    follow through with that logic putting up pictures of churches on the
    tourist information pages on the internet would be endorsing religion
    either. Actually any mention of even existence of religion would mean
    endorsing it. People you are crazy. You have gone down the deep end
    and you need to start realizing it

  • anon101

    Wrong post.

  • anon101

    I admit
    this is borderline case but two thoughts.
    1) Strip
    club and sex shops are frequently denied permits purely because of
    ick-factor. Now Chick-fil-A is denied a permit on the same grounds.
    Homophobia and the discrimination of gays simply being icky.

    2) What
    you are essentially saying is that as long as the discrimination of
    gays is subtle enough it is okay. It is not. If the city would give
    Chick-fil-A a permit they would indirectly be endorsing the
    discrimination of gay people. If a city does not want to do that I
    think they have a point.

  • Coyotenose

     Kind of like many conservatives, many Christians, many everythings…

    Your attempt to bigot with a broad brush is noted.

  • Coyotenose

     Even when you’re on the right side, people are more likely to listen when you don’t go straight to an argument-from-standin-for-Hitler.

  • Coyotenose

     It is wrong and unethical.

    It is illegal in Texas. Some of them do it anyway.

    You should have an opinion on the issue of gays. LGBTQ issues are the Civil Rights Movement of our time. (not that the CRM is over, since those problems still exist…) You know where the people who opposed the CRM now stand in the annals of history.

  • Coyotenose

    Being a crazy bigoted slimeball gets you little positive attention here. Go spew randomly capitalized hatred for your fellow human beings elsewhere, you compulsive anal-obsesser.

  • Coyotenose

     While he might be able to cite legitimate economic reasons for denying the permit, he has already lost any lawsuit Chik-fil-A chooses to file by being overt about his lack of respect for the First Amendment.

    Somehow I find it more insulting that the alderman is so blatant in his offense than that he committed the offense. Maybe because it implies a lack of respect for the intelligence of, well, anyone?

  • Guest

    That’s the thing about religion…if you don’t like their policies don’t work for them or live somewhere around them. I live close to an area where religion is deemed just as you say. Let them live the way they want to live, and you live your life the way you want to live. I don’t want to tear down religion, just alter both thought processes so we can finally find peace alongside one another. To joke, not criticize someone for believing in god or not believing in god. We are all offended so easily that it makes us uptight, finding everything disrespectful.  I believe in god, but I don’t view things like abortion as a religious matter, even though I oppose it. I just do not like it, and will never do it myself. From my perspective, the individual should not be restricted to making such a choice, but you are also allowed to decide where you want to work and what things you believe in. So if they don’t have the sort of benefits you want, just walk away, and finds somewhere else to go. Under such hard times as we’ve come upon, it probably isn’t as easy, but then again we cannot always have everything perfect and the way we want it to be. The world is not made out like that, and we have to understand that.

  • Hugoschmidt2000

    How dare someone with a Christian belief/ideology express his public disapproval of gay marriage!  In the long fine tradition of Chicago’s corrupt, atheistic, Communist ideological philosophy/history, freedom of speech must be suppressed!!  Those who oppose atheistic beliefs such as gay marriage must be black-balled, viciously attacked, and silenced!  Freedom of expression and disagreement with atheistic and glorious Communist ideology must be brutally suppressed in the fine tradition/methods of Obama’s great atheistic mentor: Mao Tse Tung!!!

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