The Week, British-based news aggregate magazine – of sorts, – gave us a good light-hearted wrap-up of the state of media play so far on the Chick-fil-A controversy.
We don’t do hunger strikes in America these days, said Martha White on NBCNews.com. Instead, we protest by eating fast food. Last month protesters in New York brought giant cups to the “Million Big Gulp March” to protest against a ban on large servings of fizzy drinks. And last week more than half a million people said they would attend a “chicken chow-down” at the Chick-fil-A sandwich chain in support of the firm’s CEO, Dan Cathy.
Cathy’s personal stance on marriage has, as we now know, prompted Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino to say Chick-fil-A wasn’t welcome in their cities.
Cathy has a right to express his views, said Tom Keane in The Boston Globe, but it doesn’t make him “immune from the consequences”. Emanuel and Menino have clear grounds to suspect that Chick-fil-A would illegally discriminate against gay employees and customers, and that’s more than enough reason to ban this bigoted business from their cities.
But there’s no evidence that Chick-fil-A has ever discriminated against gays, said Betsy Woodruff on NationalReview.com. It happily sells its products “to anyone who can fork over a few bucks”. All Cathy has done is express his constitutionally protected beliefs – which were already well known, as the Bible Belt-based chain famously remains closed on Sundays. It should be up to customers whether or not to patronise his restaurants, not to “grand Poo-bahs” of political correctness like Emanuel and Menino. Those “cheering on these politicians ought to imagine the jackboot on the other foot”, said Eric Zorn in the Chicago Tribune. If we ban businesses simply because they offend our liberal ideals, it won’t be long before “reactionary public officials in some backwater town” start kicking out firms that support “Obamacare, abortion rights, or even marriage equality”.
Personally, I just wish I could eat my chicken sandwich in peace, said Alexandra Petri on WashingtonPost.com. “It is bad enough to have to examine the caloric content of my food.” Am I now also supposed to quiz restaurant owners about their stance on everything from gay rights to gun control before I eat in their establishments? “Next, bacon will come out against women’s rights, and then where will I be?”