90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Boston Mayor Says No To Chick-fil-A Over Gay Marriage

Mayor Thomas Menino says he will block the Chick-fil-A chain from coming to Boston because of the company president’s stance on gay marriage.

On Friday, Menino sent a letter to Chick-fil-A, saying there’s no place for discrimination, or their company, in Boston.

Speaking on “The Ken Coleman Show,” Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy recently expressed his opinion on gay marriage:

“We’re inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage. And I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude that thinks we have the audacity to redefine what marriage is all about.

“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that … We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that.”

The company says it uses “biblically-based principles” in its operation — it closes on Sunday, for instance. Students at Northeastern University in Boston did not want the chain store to open on campus because of the company president’s politics.

Guest:

  • Greg Turner, Boston Herald

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • James Spires

    Chick-Fil-A is run by NOT very nice people. When the Jim Henson people pulled out, the Chickies immediately put out an announcement saying that the Henson toys they give out with their kids meals were defective. Sour grapes?

    If Mr. Cathy and his ilk want to be political with their customers’ money, they shouldn’t be shocked when the customers — and the politicians who agree with them — push back and do what needs to be done to stop businesses with a hater mentality from being successful.,

    • Onlyfloyd17

      It’s not the mayors decision to block private business over their beliefs. If the customers want to boycott, fine but it’s not up to government to determine what someone should believe.  

      • Tomasina Covell

         Chick-Fil-A is terrorist now though, I would want him to jail them and liquidate the firm, it’s backing fascism.

        • Claydo505

          The ranting of a real idiot !!! 

          • Tomasina Covell

             I would agree if that’s the way you want to frame what you said, SURE!

    • G. Dail

      If Chick-Fil-A wants to make those kinds of statements that is none of the mayor’s business. This isn’t about what Chick-Fil-A did or didn’t do. It’s about a politician over stepping his bounds. 

  • Shea Pease

    Because of this I am eating Chick-fil-a today. I may eat there every day now – tired of reverse discrimination.

    • J__o__h__n

      Eat there every day for every meal and make sure you get fries.  Protest gay-friendly Mayor Blooberg too and get a large soda.

      • Morgan

        What does the large soda ban, and Mayor Bloomberg being friendly to gays have to do with each other? Your drawing connections that don’t exist.

        • J__o__h__n

          I was nicely telling the person to eat crappy fast food and die.  Also, you should have written “you’re” not “your.”

          • Morgan

            I apologize. This is the problem with online posting, it can be hard to detect sarcasm.

    • TexanGirl1964

       Seriously. We should ask every restaurant what their opinion is on gay marriage before we decide to eat there? What’s wrong with America people?

      • nosedigger

        He could had kept hid greasy bible humping mouth shut and this would have been a non-issue. That would have been the better business decision.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/YI7JPHPR4F6T2PALUHX4CXUHWQ It

          @nosedigger Only those who agree with your opinion are allowed to talk? This man is very rich and a strong believer in his faith. Thus why his restaurants are closed on Sunday no matter what business they lose. I doubt he cares what liberals pushing their agenda and someone named nosedigger thinks.

          • nosedigger

            He can talk all he wants, but he has got to understand the consequences. Neither me or my family will ever spend a dime at a place that we know financial supports bigoted programs. If he’d kept his trap shut, we’d probably eat there.

      • Tomasina Covell

         They’re seriously telling, and making huge highly compensated points about it, it’s not like they’re being asked anything else but clarification.  They are hardcore McCarthyite Berchers, why the fuck can’t you get that through your scull?  They lobby to subvert our government to keep wages intolerably low amongst other things to keep actual citizens from being able to assert their rights.

    • Brendan

      yes, please keep eating it, fill yourself to the gills with chicken packed with chemicals and good ole’ christian morality. get fat and die a slow death…   that will really show all those gay people!  

  • Morgan

    While the mayor may not have gone about this in the best way, I understand where he came from. More and more cities are defineing themselves as gay friendly places to live. New York and LA in the US, London and Tel Aviv abroad. I think he saw this as a way for Boston to take a stance and join the ranks of those cities. While it may turn out to be a mistake to try to interfear with private buissness to prove a point, I aplaud Mayor Menino for taking this stand and wish more people would use the influence they had to effect the change they belive in.

    As for the eat in/boycott, I feel that these comments, and especially the breaking off with the Muppets, will hurt Chick-fil-A. Already, images of Kermit and the other muppets are flying around the web with sayings like “I’ll eat flies, but not Chick-Fil-A” and many people on social media sights have talking about boycotting since the comments were made. In the end, there will be a price to be paid for the comments that can offend so many people.

    • Contact

      So many people? 4% of the U.S. population is gay. 

      • David M

        So what?  What percentage of the population is African American?  And do you think that they are the only ones who would not support a business that discriminated against African Americans?

        • Kittenmom64

          Except there is no discrimination against gays going on there.

          • Morgan

            By so many people, I don’t just mean gays. I mean people who support them having equal rights.

            And a company that openly supports limiting your rights and threatens your ability to lead a normal life is just as bad as discrimination to me.

      • Morgan

        Those statistics are not conclusive. It is actually predicted to be much higher, but do to sometimes violent discrimination, especially in the Bible Belt, many gays are afraid to state what they are.

  • J Frog

    A boycott is fine.  But having different rules for organizations that have members with views we don’t like?  I guess Boston and Murfreesboro have more in common than I thought.

  • Stevevcraig

    I strongly strongly favor marriage equality, and I strongly believe people should not patronize or invest in businesses they find morally objectionable, BUT.. when a government official says he will use the power of the government to prevent an otherwise legal business from operating, that seems darn close to government censorship in my mind. 

  • Pepper

    “…along the freedom trail…” Really, seems like both sides don’t understand the meaning of freedom. 

  • G. Dail

    Is there any evidence of lawbreaking or is this just a political decision? If gays or supporters of gay “rights” chose not to eat at Chick-fil-A, then that’s their business, but I fail to see what the Mayor has to do with it. And by the way, he is not Duke of Boston. He doesn’t, or at least shouldn’t, have that kind of power. If he’s allowed to get away with this kind of nonsense, we will all suffer.

  • Rotofoot

    I will now drive out of my way to eat at Chick-fil-a.

  • Louis5k

    Failuer to allow commerence based on FAITH is a CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION!  I don’t like illegal imigration so I will have all Taco Bells outlawed in Florida.   Let get rid of KFC they sell fried chicken and that offends me.   Blocking of commerce for faith reason is WRONG.

  • Crmarsh

    GO Chick-fil-a. It’s time someone stands up against the gay agenda.

    • Tomasina Covell

       That’s like Goebbels saying stand up against the Jew lead Allie aggression against freedom.  I guess you mono dimensional scabs think that when you’re saying defend the faith et al you’re not something more like the Muslim terrorist that say the exact same thing, and against you and the same people that you defend the faith against also.

  • Kenos

    Ironic that the birthplace of liberty will deny a lawful and legitimate business from operating because of the personal beliefs of the private owners of that business. No where has it even been alledged that Chick Fil A has not followed all the laws, rules and regulations with the way its business is run. But apparently thats not good enough for the Mayor. He is abusing his power to presume the authority to deny someone the right to engage in commerce just because he doesn’t agree with their religious/political/social beliefs.

  • bonnie

    This is what comes of corporations becoming politically active. If I know a company puts it’s money behind candidates who will oppose my views I will certainly not give those companies my money. They are perhaps doing themselves a disservice in some ways as I consider it to be a plus for me as a consumer to find out so easily whom to boycott. About 10 years ago I heard that Snapple gave money to the pro-life campaigns and I haven’t bought one since. I am a woman with a husband and two small children and I wonder if the loss of my “traditional” family’s business (not that I have eaten there in at least 8 years) will bother them but perhaps since I am not a Christian, they’ll be glad I don’t step through their doors. 

    • Tomasina Covell

       Politcal religion makes corporate Stalinist, they are making minumwage slaves of the nation.

  • Tomasina Covell

    It’s not American, they’re as bad as any Taliban these totalitarian fascist-right Chick-fil-A restaurant needs to get firebombed au mass from one end of the country to the other and the owner and his fambly and every business partner tortured to death… metaphorically and spiritually speaking.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003000884786 Navin R Johnson

       Well, No Ice Dream for you!

    • Patriotguy

      You mean sort of like Kristallnacht.
      We should firebomb and destroy every store, then all the owners and their families sent to special camps where they can be tortured and killed. And just to get everyone in sync and have more impact, let’s pick an evening next week to do it all together. But, wait, isn’t that what the real Fascists did???
      I hope your views are never in the majority or we will have another Kristallnacht but this time in the US.
      On the other hand you might want to brush up on not too ancient history.

  • Texans4Chicken

    I hate to tell people …. but businesses aren’t run on a gay/not gay basis. Do we want to get our political beliefs from the Dixie Chicks? Come on people. Grow up. Everything ISN’T about gay/not gay. Marry whoever you won’t – I don’t care. But my gay friends think this is OVERBOARD. My own gay brother doens’t support gay marriage. He says why should someone else take half of what’s his. LOL. I don’t care who marries whom. Just leave my frickin’ chicken out of it.

    • Tomasina Covell

       Well here’s were you’re wrong, that one is, but it’s not just that, the LGBT thing is just the tip of it, a guns & gays issue, but what it’s about is fascism that it’s an issues sub-state actor for.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1209000829 Matthew Blake

    SO, maybe Boston should kick all religious organizations out of their city?  
    What a crock of CRAP… I forgot that in America we are not allowed to express our opinions if the poor liberal media and their droves of sheep don’t agree! The double standard in the media and around this country is ridiculous… It’s okay to disagree with anyone and express your opinion, unless it hurts the poor feelings of those liberal, commie, jerks who control the White House and the media… and all the sector of our population that are among the MTV / 16 & Pregnant hoard. 

    We have to respect all YOUR supposed ‘rights’ but when it comes to OUR opinion, we can’t have one. Most of the people in this country just disgust me… Get real, people! I’m sick and tired of the majority and media in America telling conservatives that we are oppressing the right of others and that we are so evil: THEN, they mock Christianity, refuse to acknowledge our beliefs and force us to conform to what they feel is acceptable. You know what it means to force the population to conform to your way of thinking? THAT IS OPPRESSION OF RIGHTS!!

    • Tomasina Covell

      Boy are you ever a spoilt brat!

    • Grizelda

      But on the other hand, religious people want to push their religion and there version of God on American society. Maybe your God has a problem with gay marriage. Mine does not. Why must I subscribe to your beliefs? 

  • Michael Bratton

    Hey, remember when we came to America? You know, to be free and believe as we wish? But some mayor can ban a company from a city because of their religious views?? WOW, America is becoming a haven for $@#ers! Hey, where I live alot of people don’t like gays, why don’t we just ban them from here, fair is fair!

  • Brendan

    you people are acting like Menino said he would do everything in his power to stop them from coming to Boston.   He is simply stating his mind and telling them how he feels.  He just happens to be the mayor and gets to tell them how he feels on official letterhead.  Chick-fil-a is free to set up shop in Boston but that they should know that lots of people will not be patronizing their homophobic backward-ass establishment.   who even eats that garbage anyway?  

  • Claydo 505

    In 1773 The Boston Tea Party was the first act towards
    independence from Britain and its stupid reign over Colonist… A couple hundred
    years later, the city’s loud-mouth Mayor discriminates against a Real American
    Company because of its Christian beliefs…. The Mayor of Boston isn’t a King
    or Statesman, but a public servant and gay sympathizer !!! Bend over Mayor
    Chik-fil-A is here to stay !!!  

  • Mikel

    That is totally wrong, no matter what side of the gay marriage issue you are on. Government impeding commercial enterprise because a persons beliefs and exercise of free speech is so anti constitutional! I happen to agree with Dan Cathy, but I wouldnt want the government censoring any individual or group that had an opposing opinion. Private citizens should always have the right to protest, debate, and boycott, the government should not stand in thw way of free enterprise because of ones faith, race or creed.

  • Beth

    What ever happened to freedom OF speech and freedom OF religion in our country?  This is none of the mayor’s business.  The reverse bigotry he is exhibiting is astounding.  Punishing Chick-fil-a for their beliefs is totally unconstitutional.  Shame on him.  

    • videokilled

      is freedom of speech limited to people who are not mayor? he “urges them to back out”. that doesn’t sound like a stern punishment. a strong remark, yes. bigotry happens when people refuse to see things from another point of view. please re-read the letter. allow the mayor speak his mind.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YI7JPHPR4F6T2PALUHX4CXUHWQ It

    More liberal agenda being pushed by Here and Now. It is funny I have still not seen a story about Sec. Clinton being attacked by tomatoes and shoes in Egypt, but lets make a big deal about a man expressing his religious beliefs. Very sad excuse for a news program.

  • Ibookdem

    So much for the left staying on course with diversity and tolerance I guess it only fits when it coincides with their leftist agenda. Maybe its time for another Boston Tea Party and this lame mayor needs to be the first bag to go. Ha ha

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YI7JPHPR4F6T2PALUHX4CXUHWQ It

    I hope they do not try to build a Mosque, Church or Synagog  in Boston. Those organizations think the same thing.

    • videokilled

      they’re not selling sandwiches for profit.

  • http://twitter.com/Mimi_TheSound Mimi Chen

    This story is written wrongly, I read the letter and the Mayor is not saying he will block the company from opening a store there.  That would be illegal.  However, he did urge them to reconsider opening a store considering that Boston is very emotional about gay rights.

  • Patriotguy

    Eat mor chiken. Hooray for Chick Fil A for standing up for principles. Shame on the mayor for using his office to intimidate and frustrate freedom of speech and thought, basic American privileges incarnated in the Bill of Rights.

    • Morgan

      So your praising Chick-Fil-A for standing up for what it believes in, but when the Mayor does he is a bad person? Very nice double standard.

  • Grusselltn

    When I lived in Massachusetts we had books that were “Banned in Boston.”  Now we have thoughts that are banned in Boston.

    Seems I recall that thoughts are also banned in North Korea.

    Gene Russell
    Nashville, Tennessee

  • Gene Russell

    When I lived in Massachusetts we had books that were “Banned in Boston.”  Now we have thoughts that are banned in Boston.

    Seems I remember that thoughts are also banned in North Korea.

    Gene Russell
    Nashville, Tennessee

  • DailyListener

    Glenn Greenwald discusses this issue in a far more intellectually honest and reasoned way than most of us ever could:

    http://www.salon.com/2012/07/26/rahm_emanuels_free_speech_attack/

    The most insightful quote:

    “If you support what Emanuel is doing here, then you should be equally
    supportive of a Mayor in Texas or a Governor in Idaho who blocks
    businesses from opening if they are run by those who support
    same-sex marriage — or who oppose American wars, or who support
    reproductive rights, or who favor single-payer health care, or which
    donates to LGBT groups and Planned Parenthood, on the ground that such
    views are offensive to Christian or conservative residents. You can’t
    cheer when political officials punish the expression of views you
    dislike and then expect to be taken seriously when you wrap yourself in
    the banner of free speech in order to protest state punishment of views
    you like and share. Free speech rights means that government officials
    are barred from creating lists of approved and disapproved political
    ideas and then using the power of the state to enforce those
    preferences.”

    (Rahm Emanuel has stated that Chick-fil-A will not be allowed to expand in Chicago, much like what Moreno has said regarding Boston).

    Finally, for those of you who aren’t familiar with Glenn Greenwald, he’s a former civil rights lawyer and openly gay man who lives in Brazil with his husband – he’s certainly not in agreement with what the Chick-fil-A CEO says regarding gay marriage, but he does believe in the First Amendment.

  • J__o__h__n

    “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives.” — I guess none of the women lead the business (unless one of the women is included as being with her first wife). 

  • neutral

    Chick-fil-a does not hate gays, nor do they discriminate against them. Can people respectfully disagree with someone views with out being called a bigot? The only groups who seem to be discriminated are religious groups. Just because someone has a christian, jewish
    Or Muslim view point does not mean that they hate you. Too many are full of hate on both sides

    • J__o__h__n

      They hate gays.  At least the Reverend Fred Phelps is honest about it.

      • neutral

        All the hate ia going toward christians….not from them.

  • Cubsfan222001

    Did Chick-Fil-A say they would not serve gays?  Cathy was just another person stating their views and getting MUCH too much press.  And Menino just added fuel to a fire that should have been allowed to fizzle out.

  • Katelyn

    Glad that they took a stand. Why do we constantly have to be subjected to the liberal side of the issue and not be able to stand up for our personal beliefs. Get so sick of it. Mayor Tommy, hope they vote you out next year.  It isn’t even about gay marriage. Even though I do not believe in gay marriage,  I don’t feel the need to get on my soap box and force people to believe in what I do.   They have every bit as much right to voice their opinion as the mayor does. Nothing at all wrong with it.

  • Dainty Davie

    Now all businesses in Boston must be aligned with the mindset of Mayor Menino.  This is tyranny in the highest form and is also an affront to freedom of speech.  As Americans  we are still free to express our opinions outside of what we do to earn our livlihood.  To deprive this is against our first ammendment rights.

  • MunchieMom

    The owner did NOT say that gay people could not be served in his stores or be treated ANY differently as a customner. Where is the right of people to have opposing views? So unless everyone believes in what has now been termed “marriage equality” you cannot practice in the business arena? What about other inequalities that very openly affect the equal playing field of gender equality in wage earnings, racial & economic inequalities that at times nearly slap the very face of the laws in place? Who is shutting THOSE businesses down? Christians have a RIGHT to believe differently according to their beliefs. However, in spite of what we believe to be right or wrong, it is simply that. We also believe in hating the sin, not the sinner AND are not allowed to judge…,FURTHER to owe no man but to love. So as long as we show equality in not showing judgment towards any sin even when we uphold accountability within our faith (which is different than having a belief and resulting opinion) and show equality in the love that we show to ALL God’s creation, this is no more than bullying someone into consorship. It is a GROSS injustice. We should be careful about the restriction of anyone’s freedom of speech that is simply in conflict but not injurious. His stance was not homophobic, it was his belief and he is entitled to it. We live in a world of inequalities and should welcome open dialogue on conflicting opinions to bring about a shared acceptance of what we can agree on… not assimilation.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

July 23 Comment

DJ Sessions: Latin Alternative From Los Angeles To Venezuela

KCRW's Raul Campos introduces us to some groups he came across while hosting the 15th annual Latin Alternative Music Conference.

July 23 6 Comments

ISIS Forces Christians To Flee Iraq City Of Mosul

The militant group's threat -- convert, leave or die -- has forced most Christians in Mosul to leave.

July 22 3 Comments

Remains Of Clovis Boy Reburied In Montana

DNA from the boy buried 12,600 years ago shows his people were ancestors of many of today's native peoples.

July 22 Comment

After Malaysia Airlines Crash, A Closer Look At Planning Flight Paths

Retired pilot John Ransom discusses how to factor in war zones, and how the decision is made to close an airspace.