The mayors of Boston and Chicago have threatened to punish a US multi-billion dollar fast food chain – just because it backs traditional marriage.
Amidst much debate about gay marriage, the president of Chick-fil-A says he supports the biblical definition of the family unit.
Boston’s Mayor, Thomas Menino, said he would do everything he could to stop the restaurant from setting up shop in the city.
And Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel – formerly Chief of Staff to President Obama – said he would block any new outlets opening in his area.
The Mayor of San Francisco says he “strongly recommends” that the company doesn’t try to open a restaurant within 40 miles of his city.
The mayors’ reaction has provoked widespread criticism from all sides of the gay marriage debate.
The Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg told a radio station: “You can’t have a test for what the owners’ personal views are before you decide to give a permit to do something in the city.
“You really don’t want to ask political beliefs or religious beliefs before you issue a permit. That’s just not government’s job.”
And the Los Angeles Times, while opposing Chick-fil-A’s support for traditional marriage, said public officials “have a responsibility to carry out their ministerial tasks fairly and evenhandedly — and to uphold the principle of free speech”.
On Wednesday the company saw an outpouring of public support as hundreds of thousands of customers flocked to the restaurants to mark “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day”.
Following his initial comments, the Mayor of Boston admitted that it was not in his power to prevent Chick-fil-A from opening restaurants in the city.
Writing about the issue in a blog for the Daily Telegraph’s website, commentator Tim Stanley warned: “Liberalism without a profound respect for difference is just fascism by another name.”