Strike another city from Chick-fil-A’s fan club as a Chicago official has pledged to block the fast-food chain from opening in his district amid a heated national debate over the place of the gay marriage debate in corporate America.
Proco “Joe” Moreno, one of 50 Windy City aldermen who make up the City Council, told the Chicago Tribune that he plans to prevent Chick-fil-A from building its second Chicago restaurant in his trendy, hipster-filled ward.
The company’s offense? President Dan Cathy’s comments last week that he is “guilty as charged” of defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. In other words, he’s not in favor of gay marriage.
“If you are discriminating against a segment of the community, I don't want you in the 1st Ward," Moreno told the Tribune this week. “Because of this man’s ignorance, I will now be denying Chick-fil-A’s permit to open a restaurant in the 1stWard.”
He also added that Cathy’s comments were “bigoted, homophobic.”
Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, followed suit with his own statement: "Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values. They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty."
So far, San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, both of whom preside over substantial LGBT populations, have not responded to requests for their take on the issue.
Last week, Chick-fil-A issued a statement saying it would “leave leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena." The company added that it has always aimed to “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect -- regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”
The reaction has been intense. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino told the Boston Herald that he no longer wanted Chick-fil-A in his city. Muppets creator Jim Henson Co. backed out of a partnership with the chain to make kids meals toys. Protestors are planning to congregate outside locations tonight; participating same-sex couples will publicly embrace.
Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee began marshaling supporters to swarm into Chick-fil-A restaurants on Aug. 1. Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin blogged that Menino’s “beef with the beloved chicken sandwich supplier is as full of holes as Chick-fil-A’s trademark waffle fires.”
“When an elected public official wields the club of government against a Christian business in the name of “tolerance,” it’s not harmless kid stuff,” Malkin wrote. “It’s chilling.”
Meanwhile, Gizmodo says that Chick-fil-A created a fake Facebook account to raise sympathy on social media, using a stock image of a teenage girl to invent a persona named “Abby Farle” to defend the chain in comments sections. The company denied the accusations to BuzzFeed.
Actress Roseanne Barr directed a pretty-much unprintable tweet at people who eat “antibiotic filled tortured chickens 4Christ,” saying that the group “deserves to get the cancer that is sure to come.”