The politics of chicken

I've been following with interest the train-wreck of local political loudmouths in various cities of the USA in the case of "Chick-Fil-A" -- a chicken fast-food restaurant that I've never encountered to date, but which appears to be present in most states of the USA, and prevalent in the south and east -- from a casual glance I can't see the Dakotas, Washington, Oregon or Montana in the list of states. The menu is predominantly chicken sandwiches and wraps, somewhat healthier than KFC. Nothing controversial there, except for recent statements by Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A that:

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.
As one can imagine, this didn't go down too well with those pro-gay-marriage and has provoked a storm of protest. Notably, Jim Henson's Muppets withdrew their permission for use of Muppet toys for kids' meals in the restaurant. I do like the company's FAQ on this topic though:
From the day Truett Cathy started the company, he began applying biblically-based principles to managing his business. For example, we believe that closing on Sundays, operating debt-free and devoting a percentage of our profits back to our communities are what make us a stronger company and Chick-fil-A family.
(my emphasis). Nice dig at the politicos of all stripes there.

Now various city mayors are proclaiming that they won't allow Chick-fil-A to open restaurants in their cities because e.g. "they do not represent Chicago values" (Rahm Emmanual, mayor of the urban paradise that is Chicago). The ever-entertaining Mark Steyn provides a good overview of how we got here, and contrasts the cities' tolerance of highly homophobic Islamic preachers with the treatment of Chick-fil-A::

The mayor [of Boston] couldn't have been more accommodating (including giving them $1.8 million of municipal land) of the new mosque of the Islamic Society of Boston, whose IRS returns listed as one of their seven trustees Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Like President Obama, Imam Qaradawi's position on gays is in a state of "evolution": He can’t decide whether to burn them or toss 'em off a cliff.

Personally I think a lot of the fuss is down to local politicos seeing an opportunity to posture and taking it - they can't help themselves. It's a worrying trend for freedom of speech, however. Note that no policies of Chick-fil-A are under attack, as far as I can tell, and no discriminatory treatment of gay customers or staff is alleged. This is all down to the voiced opinions of the company president. The worrying part is not that people are boycotting Chick-fil-A - this is a fundamental freedom of association. The worry is that cities, which are not rolling in money right now and could use the extra employment and taxes from a new store, are preventing the company from opening a store and letting the people decide for themselves. The mayors are the people who should be facing opprobrium here, what they said and are doing is far worse than anything Dan Cathy said.

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