Chicken chain's flap

By Baker City Herald Editorial Board August 03, 2012 09:22 am

Remember that innocent era when Chick-fil-A, the purveyor of rapidly delivered poultry, was best known for its clever TV commercials featuring beleaguered cows urging Americans to boost their consumption of chicken?

Today the fast food chain is a symbol in the nation’s debate over same-sex marriage.

Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy precipitated this by publicly denouncing same-sex marriage.

We disagree with Cathy, but of course he is entitled to express his opinion in whatever forum he chooses.

And the people who are angry about Cathy’s comments are equally free to picket his restaurants or urge boycotts of the chicken chain.

So far, a fine example of how the First Amendment is supposed to work.

The troubling part of the Chick-fil-A episode happened, perhaps not surprisingly, when some politicians butted in.

The mayors of Boston, Chicago and San Francisco say Chick-fil-A isn’t welcome in their cities. 

Although Mayors Tom Menino (Boston), Rahm Emanuel (Chicago) and Edwin Lee (San Francisco) clarified that they won’t marshal city resources to block Chick-fil-A franchises, we still think the trio went too far.

The First Amendment pretty clearly stands in the way of any city trying to legally restrict businesses from opening based on the political views of their owners. These three mayors should have stuck to criticizing Cathy’s words, rather than implying, however subtly, that his restaurants would be treated differently at City Hall than anyone else’s.