Boston Mayor Thomas Menino became the latest, and so far highest profile, politician to call out Chick Fil-A’s president Dan Cathy over comments he made regarding same-sex marriage, who said allowing same-sex marriage is “inviting God’s judgment on our nation”. Menino responded to this by telling Chick Fil-A in a letter that they will not be welcome into the city, and Menino will make sure of that.
“Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion,” Menino told the Boston Herald on Friday.
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In a letter to the Georgia-based company, Menino said that he would not allow the business to open up “on our Freedom Trail”, since the company was looking at a property near Fanueil Hall at the spot where The Purple Shamrock currently resides. The 32 year-old bar is slated to go out of business due to a rent increase, and Chick Fil-A was planning an expansion into the area.
The company released a statement that the issue of same-sex marriage should be left to those in the “political arena”, and reaffirmed that the company’s policy against discrimination in the workplace:
“The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”
While Menino really has no power to deny a business from setting up shop outright, some legal experts say that he can make it difficult for a business to acquire licenses, and can instruct City Hall to purposefully drag its feet. For example, City Hall can pull out every regulation check from the amount of grease in the fryers, to traffic situations, to requirements for historical upkeep, due to its location on the Freedom Trail and near historic Fanueil Hall. Menino had already kept Wal-Mart out of Roxbury through these tactics because of his opinion that Wal-Mart is bad for local storeowners and low-wage employees. It’s not outright banning a business for political differences, but it is using the power of City Hall to make life difficult for certain businesses through soft power that is often unseen.