Boston Mayor Blocks Chick-fil-A Franchise from City over Homophobic Attitude

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Fallon / Bloomberg

The Chick-fil-A cow mascot on a hat.

The people of Boston will have to purchase their chicken sandwiches elsewhere: Mayor Thomas M. Menino has sworn that the franchise will have to fight city hall to bring its fast-food empire to Boston after Chick-fil-A’s president, Dan Cathy, said gay marriage is “inviting God’s judgment on our nation.” The Atlanta-based chain is hoping to open a restaurant in a popular tourist spot near the Freedom Trail — a rather ironic choice in Menino’s eyes.

“Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston,” Menino told the Boston Herald on Thursday. “You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against the population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion. That’s the Freedom Trail. That’s where it all started right here. And we’re not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the hell the name is, on our Freedom Trail.”

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Chick-fil-A has been the target of critics for years. The LGBT advocacy group Equality Matters published a report that concluded Chick-fil-A had donated more than $3 million to Christian groups that oppose homosexuality between 2003 and 2009 and donated another $2 million to anti-gay causes in 2010 alone. Cathy, however, never spoke publicly about the company’s policies on the matter. Cathy finally went on record with the Baptist Press on July 16. When asked about Chick-fil-A’s support of the “traditional family” (referring, presumably, to one led by a married husband and wife), Cathy responded, “Well, guilty as charged…We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”

With Cathy on the record, customers and companies alike are deciding whether to boycott the franchise. In a June 20 announcement on Facebook, CEO Lisa Henson said that the Jim Henson Company — home to the Muppets — is breaking ties with Chick-fil-A: They will no longer supply toys or other merchandise to the fast-food chain. The post has since received 6625 likes.

In response to the backlash, Chick-fil-A released a statement on Thursday that said it had a history of “applying biblically-based principles” to business management. (The franchise closes on Sundays, for example.) But the statement went on to say that the company does not discriminate:

“The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race creed, sexual orientation or gender. Going forward our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”

Regardless of its policies, the fast-food chain has been on a track of nationwide expansion. Having opened its first restaurant in a Georgia mall in 1967, Chick-fil-A now boasts more than 1600 restaurants in 29 states and rakes in around $4.1 billion a year. While its home state contains a whopping 196 stores, there are just two within the state of Massachusetts — both resting in the suburbs, well outside Boston city limits.

(MORE: It’s a Deal: Dress Like a Cow, Get Free Chicken at Chick-Fil-A)

But Menino just may succeed in effectively banning the chain from Boston: The mayor blocked the development of a Walmart in Roxbury last year, citing the retail empire’s negative impact on neighborhood business and lower-wage workers as his motivation. Now, he plans to offer Chick-fil-A a similar hurdle-laden policy. “If they need licenses in the city, it will be very difficult,” Menino said. “Unless they open up their policies.”

At the very least, Menino will be able to count on the support of Boston’s Northeastern University students in this fight. Chick-fil-A already had to cancel its plans to build a restaurant on that campus when students protested that the chain had donated millions of dollars to anti-gay groups. Administrators heeded the student’s wishes and told Chick-fil-A to fly the coop.

IDEAS: Why I Won’t Be Boycotting Chick-fil-A

114 comments
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tad1492
tad1492

Not all Northeastern University students back Menino's choice. He doesn't have my support on this

John MacDaniel
John MacDaniel

Chick-fil-a is flying into wind of public acceptance, and the wind will knock that chicken back into the shed where it belongs - out of sight and out of mind.  "Bye Bye Birdie!"

LordJiggy
LordJiggy

Here's the rub.  We are talking about an organization's politics, not their actionable employment policies.  Any attempt to keep them from operating a legitimate business due to their politics is flatly illegal and unconstitutional.  

People who don't like Chick-Fil-A's politics or positions are free to "punish" that organization by withholding their custom and money.  But there are probably just as many people who dislike the activities of Planned Parenthood, and so they can withhold --- oh, wait.  They can't withhold money from Planned Parenthood, since it receives federal funding.  Anyone of the 53% who pay Federal Taxes are therefore supporting the activities of PP whether they wish to do so or not.    Since our friends on the Left are so anxious for equal rights and equal access, surely they are willing to have PP's Federal funding withdrawn to enable everyone an equal opportunity to register their support or disapproval of PP by deciding whether or not to give them their money.  That's fair, right?Seriously, what is it with the Left and their contempt for the Constitution?  http://bit.ly/MOXKEF

joelsa37
joelsa37

i love chick-fil-a and think people should focus on how corrupt our government is ie, a mayor thinking he has the power to choose if a business can get licensed in his city ,everyone is entitled to express their beliefs after all this is America right? the facts are if we were all gay, the human race would cease to exist two men cant make a baby and two females cant either, do the math not to difficult to figure out

James Williams
James Williams

The headline for this story is about as deplorable as  the mayor's proclamation. Several have commented on it, yet the author, nor anyone from Time, has not come forward to defend it. Not surprising, since the charge of "homophobia" is indefensible. Still, it'd be nice if the author at least addressed it.

Ph D Track Petersen
Ph D Track Petersen

Great stance, Harrison. I do applaud you as well as the mayor standing up for what he believes in, as does Cathy, though we may not all agree.

Gracie Orr
Gracie Orr

Where is the right to free speech and right to free commerce?  Wake up people!  The Bill of Rights is being shredded.

LifeChanging Miracles
LifeChanging Miracles

Romans 1:26-27 - "Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion."

LifeChanging Miracles
LifeChanging Miracles

 Jesus hate the sin, but love the sinner! Homosexuality is a sin and God is very clear about this! He can forgive every sin but people need to repent form their sinful life! These days many people and even Christians start to accept Homosexuality...how horrible is that?  Dan Cathy and every beliver in Jesus.. ,follow God and never let peopel change this and never compromise! The world become more and more sinful! People love doing sin and rejeckt Jesus!  Repent from your sin and accept Jesus! The living God says: 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 - "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes norhomosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."    

Gary29
Gary29

This is a free country and we all have our own beliefs. If you don't like someones beliefs you don't become friends. If you don't like what a company stands for you don't do business with them. But as soon as you stop someone or a business from coming into a city you are then breaking a discrimination law. Discrimination has many faces and if we want this country to be free then we need to be open to all ways of life and beliefs. When 9/11 first happened a couple days later I went into one of my favorite pizza shops in Milford NH and was amazed to find it empty. The owners were from the Middle East. They were in shock when I walked in and thanked me for still coming to their restaurant. Believe me I am a patriot and Love my country and hate what happened that day, but I can not see hating an entire race and boycotting their establishments. Do me wrong and yes I will boycott an establishment but we need to give everyone an equal opportunity. Chik-Fil-A has a right to be in Boston and the people of Boston have a right to allow Chik-Fil-A to either flourish or die in Boston. If the people boycott the establishment they will close their doors, but let the people of Boston decide  their fate not City Hall. 

NoPhobias
NoPhobias

I'd be interested to know where Eliana Doktorman got her psychology degree. She MUST have one, since she is qualified to diagnose phobias. I wonder how long Dan Cathy has been her patient...because surely she counldn't produce such a diagnosis without ever having met him.

Mike Oxlong
Mike Oxlong

I'm so old I remember when Obama was homophobic 2 months ago....

Cryos
Cryos

Nice biased headline. TIME have fun following Newsweek into bankruptcy and obscurity.

Another past reputable media powerhouse reduced to a leftist rag doing the bidding of the democratic party.

Jon Darby
Jon Darby

Gay man/boycotter of Chik-Fil-A here, and I am extremely opposed to this.  If a conservative city attempted to block a gay friendly company from opening the same people applauding this would be outraged, and that is exactly what will probably happen if this succeeds.  If you're against gay marriage, don't get one; if you're against Chik-Fil-A, don't eat there, but in both cases don't interfere with other peoples rights to enjoy either. 

Brian Keith Cherrick
Brian Keith Cherrick

If this company donated millions to pro-gay/lgbt groups we wouldn't even be hearing about this. If they did that, one could argue that they are discriminating against heterosexuals. People need to stop being so ****ing sensitive about crap just because someone or in this case, some companies views don't side with your own.

Jackson1961
Jackson1961

The hateful people of Boston, Massachusetts (Menino included) should stop this discrimination. What a bunch of communists you all are - disgusting atheistic secularist pagans. Did you not learn anything in the past few thousands of years? Jeez.

82bravesforever
82bravesforever

Let's be clear, agree or disagree with Mr. Cathy's politics, fine.  But anyone aware of Chick-fil-a actively discriminating?    Let's judge on actions, not words.    Have we gotten to the point where we need to know the political views of all business leaders before we consume their products?  I imagine that would lead us to very few choices.  Fascists!

P.S.  Weren't the Celtics and Red Sox the last professional sports teams to integrate?    

FarmerJack
FarmerJack

HAHAHA like Chick-fil-A will ever care to go to this detestable city.

Typical of the INTOLERANT left in this country. 

FarmerJack
FarmerJack

HAHAHA like Chick-Fil-A would ever care to go to that detestable city anyhow.

Typical attitude of the UNtolerant left.

FirstAmmendment
FirstAmmendment

This story really makes be depressed.  The Mayor of a city does not have the right to discriminate (yes, he is discriminating) against a private businessman for voicing his freedom of speech...and the Mayor's behavoir simply makes him a dictator.  Anyone who calls this a step in the right direction for gay rights should consider this:

  If this were Mayor who banned a business for giving money to a pro-gay marriage organization, it would be just as wrong.  And the citizens of this area should be very careful of allowing this behavior to go on.  What is to stop the Mayor from not allowing residents to open their own business because they don't have the same beliefs (or don't support his candidacy).  I would be happy to support a protest of this kind of abuse of power. 

Ross Hopkins
Ross Hopkins

 While I disagree with Chik-Fil-A's CEO stance on gay marriage I find the mayor's actions very disturbing as it violates the very values that this country stands for. The actions violate the 1st amendment, as the government cannot punish people based on their beliefs. The choice also causes collateral damage, as the restaurants are individually owned. Thus we are hurting local owners to hurt the CEO.

Bostonsux
Bostonsux

BOYCOTT BOSTON!! I will never spend another dime in the stinking city of Boston.

Kristian Burks
Kristian Burks

Unfortunately for Mayor Thomas M. Menino-- bad publicity is still good publicity. I hope they keep this debate active because it's only doing the company good by getting their logo out there. I don't think anybody, homosexual or not, cares about who gets their $5 as long as they get good food in return- and Chick-Fil-A is certainly one of the better chains out there. The company has always been a Christian based company (hence the reason they are closed every Sunday) and I am personally pleased to see that at least one company has stuck with the values it had when it originally opened.

If Chicago doesn't want a decent eating place then that's fine... but sales in Georgia will only increase now. Just take a wild guess at where I'll be eating tomorrow afternoon!

mercrono
mercrono

Yeah, so that's going to be a First Amendment violation. As it turns out, governments can't engage in viewpoint discrimination when regulating local businesses. It would be like saying "no newspapers that support Republicans" or "no food trucks whose owners voted for Obama." That's basically ground zero of the First Amendment.

I think it's pretty silly that Chick-fil-A has decided to take a stand on same-sex marriage, and if private parties want to boycott them because of it, that's fine. Yes, free speech entails the risk that people will refuse to deal with you because of it. But the government can't be the one to punish you for holding silly views. Duh.

Cryos
Cryos

 They did not take a stance. The owner was asked a question and he answered it.

Kind of like the scum Perez to Carrie Prejean liberals want to try to get people to violate their beliefs out of the fear from the oppressive political correctness that has taken over.

kirby76
kirby76

Wherever one stands on same-sex marriage, the obvious point is whether a mayor can block a business based on its stand on a political issue, if it is not breaking any laws or city ordinances. There may be no cut-and-dried answer to that; cities have pretty broad latitude in deciding what businesses may operate  and where based on the projected effect on the community, and I suppose it could be argued that Chick-fil-A's stance might contribute to a 'hostile environment', even if they don't actually discriminate in their policies. But there is also the 1st Amendment element in singling out a business solely because of its views, apart from its conduct AS a business. The amazing thing to me is that a TIME writer could apparently not even notice, much less comment on, what is obviously the central issue here. 

dirtydog1776
dirtydog1776

The word homophobic is being misused.  

Dan Cathy is not afraid of gays, just doesn't believe they are right.

I guess Mayor Menino wants to tell people what to think and believe.

dirtydog1776
dirtydog1776

Freedom is the right to make either good or bad choices.  Mayor Menino is a good example of a scabby, little bureaucrat who thinks he has the right to make choices for people.  That is not freedom but dictatorship.  He must be Hitler's long lost son....or grandson.

iTz L3G3ND³
iTz L3G3ND³

Jesus had no choice but to forgive, he had no choice but to love. Unlike the people who murdered him, he cared about human life. He actually died for your sins. And can you people stop manipulating the scriptures that are written in the Bible to make yourself feel better. Homosexuality was born in the porn industry. I don't understand how society forgot where it originated from. I guess filth mixes with ignorance, and since most gay people are ignorant, they die from incurable sexually transmitted diseases.

BrandonCutler
BrandonCutler

@iTz L3G3ND³ It is because of right wing homophobes like you that facebook needs a "dislike" button.

iTz L3G3ND³
iTz L3G3ND³

Most of the NoH8 gang is delusional and obviously disconnected from reality. A shortage of HIV drugs would make the message more clearer.

Scott Horowitz
Scott Horowitz

I support Chick-Fil-A because their CEO is standing firm in his beliefs for his company. He is not bending over to those who want to see them suffer. I will continue to patronize Chick-Fil-A because--gasp!--I enjoy their food. And get this...I also support gay marraige and gay rights as much as the next person who does, also. But I'm not going to let this establishment's beliefs dissuade me from continuing to enjoy their food.

Kudos.

Del Preston
Del Preston

It seems strange that Chick-fil-a would even want to go to Massachusetts in the first place. I am happy that Mayor is standing up for what he believes in. If Chick-fil-a says what they do they should have expected something like this.

mercrono
mercrono

The mayor certainly has the right as a private citizen to boycott Chik-Fil-A or even to try to organize a voluntary boycott from the general population. But he can't use the arm of the state to keep Chik-Fil-A from doing business just because he disagrees with them on same-sex marriage. That's a pretty obvious First Amendment violation; the government doesn't get to discriminate on the basis of viewpoint when it comes to who is allowed to do business.

Rick Swartz
Rick Swartz

Why do you hate the Bible so much you Christaphobic bigot. - If you say what you say, you should expect something like this.

Rick Swartz
Rick Swartz

So if America has become such a Fascist State that one Christaphobic Mayor can ban a Christian Co. from his Fascist city then the Mayor of Muslim controlled Dearborn, Michigan can ban any more Churches from being built??????? Well maybe Boston needs a few more Natural Disasters before they wake up.

Rick Swartz
Rick Swartz

Thomas Menino is a Christaphobic Bigot.  I'm now boycotting anything that has to do with Boston. Liberal scum of Boston either remove this hate filled bigot from your government or prove you are piles of human excrement like he is. The brave men of Boston who died in the Revolutionary War died for nothing. Their city had become home to Socialist scum And Political Correct Facists.

PrinceHall
PrinceHall

"Jesus" and his "great" work at it again.  

Rick Swartz
Rick Swartz

Christaphobic bigot!

Moonshine Fox
Moonshine Fox

 Not really, if Christ were here today, he'd be smacking Chick-fil-a around like he did the temple money changers.

Rick Swartz
Rick Swartz

Step 1) Try reading the Bible to see who Jesus really is.

Step 2) Realize just how moronic your comments are

Step 3) Ask Jesus to forgive you for thinking he was a panzy New Ager like Oprah

Step 4) Go and sin no more.

Moonshine Fox
Moonshine Fox

 @ Jesse Ray, Jesus preached to love everyone, even the enemies who would strike you. I think he'd be upset about Chick-fil-a's lack of love.  I even said I don't fully agree with the mayor down below.

Jesse Ray
Jesse Ray

Keep dreaming Moonshine. Jesus smacked around hypocrites, which anyone with two braincells can see is the mayor in this story. 

PrinceHall
PrinceHall

I don't fear things that don't exist.

Rick Swartz
Rick Swartz

That is OK because you don't exist. If you can prove it then we can talk but you can't so you or your thoughts don't matter . So go away and try to convince others that you are so much smarter then they are like all Narcissistic-Agnostics aka Atheists.

Bosda
Bosda

I hate their politics, but love the sandwiches.

KB_Corkless
KB_Corkless

Such a fracas and still, no one bothers the chickens for their viewpoint. I hear they're not so crazy about gays in the Middle East - no oil tankers turned away yet as far as I know.

Kountolku Kecil
Kountolku Kecil

Is this really USA????!

You disagree with same sex marriage than BOOM you're a bigot, Nazi, racist SOB who doesn't deserve to live in the States.

What happened to respecting others' opinion and differences like the LGBT and its supporters often said?

Is the mayor already influenced by jihadist that hated others who have different opinions?

Einsteins_brain
Einsteins_brain

time mentioned that the Muppets decision to stop advertising with Chic Filet had 6,625 like... whoopi doo !!! 

Chic Filet has 5 mil likes..

The mayor will easily lose a popularity contest against Chic Filet...  

Let's all look to see if the ACLU will defend Chic Filet against this abominable decision by Mayor Thomas M. Menino..

Rick Swartz
Rick Swartz

the ACLU - Anti-Christian Liberal Union - defend Christians. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. that;s like Hitler defending the Jews.