Boston mayor bans Chick-Fil-A from the city

This has to sting.

The mayor is vowing to block Chick-fil-A from bringing new stores to Boston.

The decision comes following the chain president’s views against gay marriage. Dan Cathy said the company was “guilty as charged” when it came to supporting the biblical definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.

The mayor said he doesn’t want a company that discriminates against gay and lesbians setting up shop in Boston, especially on the Freedom Trail.

They’ll build a statue to Dan Cathy in Texas, but the rest of the civilized world has the proper response to Cathy’s biblical values: those values damage humanity, and anybody who abides by them is a bad person whether they think Jesus commands it or not.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • DaveL

    Um, can the mayor actually ban a private company from setting up premises in the city? Especially for advocating a political viewpoint, bigoted and wrong as it may be?

    • Anonymous

      That was my first reaction as well. Does that mean that the mayor of East Dipshit, TX can ban local theaters from showing Disney films?

    • Gregory in Seattle

      Mass. state law prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religious belief, lack of religious belief, sexual orientation and, as of July 1 of this year, gender identity and behavior. With the CEO of the company coming out openly and proudly about company policies demanding discrimination on the grounds of religious belief and sexual orientation, I believe a strong case could be made that willful refusal to adhere to state law is a disqualification from opening a business in the state.

      • Jerome Haltom

        This is stretching it. The law requires they provide equal access to good and services provided by their place of public accommodation. They are doing that.

        There is no legal case to be made here. Just a political one. And that’s fine.

        • M Groesbeck

          They offer educational benefits to employees that are dependent on sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion (and then trumpet it as “charity”). Anti-discrimination laws apply to employment as well as provision of services.

  • otocump

    I think if the case is made (or made for them) that the organisation is a ‘hate’ organisation (which it is) then a zoning permit and business licence can be withheld. Each municipality is different but I’m pretty sure that’s a common clause.

  • Janee

    i like when we do something right. =]

  • anteprepro

    I think this is an idle threat: There are a total of two stores in MA, one in NH, one in NY, and no more in any New England state. There is, however, 22 in NJ and 59 in PA. But Boston is in pretty much an oasis of low religion, which necessarily means a lack of Chick-Fil-A, apparently. So, yeah, doesn’t mean a hell of a lot.

    • Richard

      We’re working on western mass. too, but we got a metric shitton of woo to trash.

    • Rory

      Fun fact, I understand that the one CFA in New York is in one of the university food courts (I don’t recall if it was SUNY or somebody else), and only students are allowed to eat there. I wonder how their business will be when fall semester starts, what with all those godless liberal elitist college kids.

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    Hooray for Mayor Menino! Though I doubt he has any legal ability to ban them, I appreciate the sentiment.

  • Patrick

    How can you gloat about this and simultaneously get mad when a private businessman refuses to service someone because she is an atheist? This kinda makes you look hypocritical…

    Chick-Fil-A does not discriminate in employment at all, and they are not in the business of offering marriage licences, so the mayor seems 100% out of line here. He is going to end up getting the whole city sued on the public dime.

    • Miriam

      Aren’t some of the organizations that Chick-fil-A donates to considered hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center? That changes things.

      I could be wrong, so feel free to correct me if I am.

      • Patrick

        Even if they were donating to “hate groups” (I “hate” the broad use of the term “hate” because it has watered down the meaning of the word) – even so as long as they were donating legally I’m not sure how the government could have the authority to step in and block them. Besides, couldn’t some atheist groups be designated “hate groups” in some areas of the country?

      • Jerome Haltom

        There is nothing illegal about donating to a hate group.

  • fastlane

    Chick-Fil-A does not discriminate in employment at all[.]

    You state that awfully confidently. Are you sure? Have you read their franchise agreement, for instance?

    • Patrick

      A franchise agreement is very different from employment. A franchise has the right to discriminate (to use the term loosely) and decide who is capable and willing to maintain the image and values of the company. Chick-Fil-A’s public image is Christian and they have the right to maintain that image at the franchise level. However, at the level of employment they must be willing to hire completely without discrimination. As far as I know they have done that, and to say otherwise without evidence is slander. Do you have a court case in mind that ruled they were in fact discriminating?

      • KRH

        First, this would not be an issue of slander, it would be the civil tort of libel. Second, truth is a complete defense to allegation of both slander or libel. Third, you don’t need a court case and a ruling to demonstrate truth, you only need a ruling if you wish to establish a legal precedent. Truth is still truth.

        If one is going to toss about legal terms and concepts, one may expect to get “busted” when used incorrectly, and or leaned upon in drawing illogical conclusions, or in attempting to cast doubt on the reasonable observations of others.

  • josephstricklin

    Can I get a preverbial “Fuck Yea!”

    • Patrick

      How is this response substantially different from the Christians that responded joyfully when Christian business owners refused to send flowers to a certain young atheist girl?

      • Jerome Haltom

        One is refusing service, the other isn’t.

        • penn

          ..for a very limited definition of “service”.

          One could easily view “allowing restaurants to open” as a service. Would it have been okay if a mayor denied Jessica Ahlquist from moving into their city due to her views? What if a principal of a public school said she couldn’t attend their school because of her views? Would that have been remotely ok?

          Government officials should not have a say in what political views are allowed to be aired (except for obvious exceptions like direct threats violence).

      • Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven

        Pretty much every detail your comparison leaves out?

      • M Groesbeck

        Because judging someone based on unethical behavior is exactly the same as judging them based on ethical or ethically neutral behavior?

        • penn

          Your okay with the government denying services because a private citizen espouses views that a government official finds immoral? Following a policy like that would be devastating for the atheist community. Is Cathy an ignorant bigot? Yes. Should the government be allowed to punish him for expressing ignorant bigotry if he’s following the law? No.

          • M Groesbeck

            …that comment almost makes sense if you assume that a) I am the government, and b) funding campaigns to deny rights and selectively providing scholarships to right-wing totalitarian institutions is just “opinions” rather than actions.

  • Art Vandelay

    Menino added that he will not allow Chick-fil-A into Boston unless they change their policy.

    It’s not really a policy. To my knowledge, Chick-fil-A isn’t in the marriage business. Although, up until a few days ago, I didn’t even know what I was boycotting because I’ve never heard of them because I live in New England.

  • penn

    I have to agree that this is a bad thing, and we’d be rightly pissed if the situation was reversed. I agree that marriage should be a universal right, and that Dan Cathy’s views are ignorant and bigoted. I’ve boycotted Chick-fil-A for years because of their odious ties, but the mayor of city shouldn’t ban a business because he doesn’t like a policy position of its CEO. Dan Cathy has a right to his ignorant views. We have a right to criticize those views and refuse to do business with his company. But a government official should not be extra-judicially punishing a private business due to the political positions of its owner. That’s a road that we don’t want to go down.

  • Drew

    I am so against this. I don’t want a Chic-Fil-A in Boston, but I don’t want Boston to infringe on someone’s rights either. It is not illegal to send money to anti-gay organizations, it’s just an awful thing to do.