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*** UPDATED x1 *** Politicians and gay marriage

Friday, Jul 27, 2012

* There was a small protest this week in Mount Vernon against a county board resolution against gay marriage

A rainbow-colored flag flew in front of Jefferson County Courthouse on Monday as dozens of people gathered to protest a recent county board resolution that affirmed its “defense of marriage as a sacred union between one man and one woman.”

* The resolution’s sponsor defended his action

County Board Vice Chairman Wayne Hails, who asked that the resolution be brought before the board, remained committed to its message, despite the crowd protesting it outside the county board’s meeting in the courthouse.

Hails said he would sit down for a discussion with people who support gay marriage but “I would not reconsider my opinion. It’s still my belief and the belief of the vast majority of the people I represent.” […]

“I don’t agree with their opinion of same-sex marriage,” he said. “The vast, vast majority of the people I represent believe marriage is between a man and a woman.”

* But a 2010 poll of southern Illinoisans found that less than half of the respondents opposed gay marriage

* And a 2012 poll of southern Illinoisans found that even fewer people were against gay marriage

Asked their position on same-sex marriage in Illinois, a little over one in five (22 percent) chose the option “gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to legally marry.” A third (32 percent) chose “gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to form civil unions, but not to legally marry”; and four in 10 (40 percent) chose “there should be no legal recognition of relationships between gay and lesbian couples.” [Emphasis added.]

Now, it’s possible that in Hails’ district the “vast, vast majority” of residents oppose gay marriage. But if they’re even close to the mainstream of southern Illinois thought, they’re rapidly moving away from that position.

The lesson here is that if you want to oppose gay marriage based on your own ideology, then go for it. But you probably shouldn’t rely on public opinion as a justification because it appears to be moving away from you.

* All that being said, something has been really grating on me for the past few days

The anti-gay views openly espoused by the president of a fast food chain specializing in chicken sandwiches have run afoul of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and a local alderman, who are determined to block Chick-fil-A from expanding in Chicago.

“Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago values. They’re not respectful of our residents, our neighbors and our family members. And if you’re gonna be part of the Chicago community, you should reflect Chicago values,” Emanuel said Wednesday.

That’s just a preposterous and outrageous thing for any mayor to say.

I mean, what if a socially conservative southern Illinois mayor had decided to block Best Buy from obtaining a zoning permit to build a store in his town because the company had contributed to pro-gay marriage efforts?

And what about all the conservative Catholic business owners in Chicago? Should they all be subjected to ideological purity tests before they get a city permit?

Chick-fil-A has no discernible record of anti-gay business practices. They don’t refuse to hire gay people. They don’t refuse to serve gay customers. The CEO has said marriage should be between a man and a woman and has given some money to groups who believe that way as well. If you don’t want to go to that restaurant, then by all means don’t. If you want to help boycott the restaurant chain, then get involved. But unless there’s some illegal act here, government should stay the heck away from these sorts of purity tests when granting zoning permits.

*** UPDATE *** As usual, the Illinois Republican Party found a way to blame Speaker Madigan

The Illinois Republican Party started fund-raising off of the Chick-fil-A controversy, on Friday, promising a $5 Chick-fil-A gift card to people who donate at least $10. […]

In making the appeal the state GOP said, “Obama’s fellow Madigan-backed Chicago Democratic politicians have stooped to a new low in trying to silence a business owner, Chick-fil-A, by trying to block their business license simply for expressing an opinion that they disagree with.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - I'm Just Saying - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 11:20 am:

    I hate to say it, and Personally I like Joe Moreno, but this is Joe Moreno, grandstanding and getting in over his head AGAIN…. He’ll back down in the next few days, mark my words……

  2. - titan - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 11:20 am:

    Don’t those polls both show pretty strong tilt against gay marriage?

    73.8% in the 2010 one, and 72% in the 2012.

    I think it important to distinguish opposition to gay “marriage” and opposition to civil unions (which gay couple could enter into). They are different.

  3. - East Sider - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 11:22 am:

    - But unless there’s some illegal act here, government should stay the heck away from these sorts of purity tests when granting zoning permits.-

    Very well said, Rich. People have to stop drawing a line in the sand over every single issue.

  4. - Deep South - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 11:23 am:

    Social conservative mayors are only found in Southern Illinois?

    BTW…I thought Rahm was spot on.

  5. - Just a Guy - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 11:26 am:

    I completely agree with you on the Chicago mess. It is a slippery slope. What’s next, denying a zoning permit for someone because they contributed to Bill Brady or an alderman’s opponent from the last election?

  6. - The Doc - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 11:30 am:

    Zorn also had a nice piece on the Chic-fil-A nonsense a few days’ back, echoing Rich’s sentiments. Moreno is on the wrong side of this for many reasons, not the least of which is that it’s probably unconstitutional.

  7. - wordslinger - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 11:33 am:

    Here come the the Thought Police, led by Big Brother Rahm.

    You don’t have to like what the Chicken Man thinks, you don’t even have to buy his chicken.

    But it is by definition an Orwellian world when a tinhorn dictator and hack alderman can put you out of business because they don’t like the way you think.

    Perhaps Big Brother Rahm can give us a rundown on what are acceptable thoughts and expressions for doing business in “his” city.

    By the way, it ain’t his city and it ain’t Moreno’s ward. No one elected them despots.

    Unlike the usual, daily, chicken-little nonsense you hear from Fox and the yabbos, this is a real and direct attack on liberty by government, and it needs to be smacked down hard.

  8. - Demoralized - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 11:34 am:

    Sorry Rich, but you are absolutely wrong on this issue. I applaud the Mayor for standing up for EVERYONE in his community. You are right about the zoning issues, but the Mayor was doing the right thing in what he said. Hate and bigotry has NO PLACE in society.

  9. - Just saying... - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 11:37 am:

    In a world in which corporations are peope too, we should probably expect to see more reactions like this in the future.

    Moreover, it is more than just Chick Fil A’s owners having a politial view: Chick Fil A’s owners spent $1.7m in company profits to fund those views last year, but “Just A Guy” makes a very valid point. Where do you draw a line, or should there even be a line in the first place?

  10. - Responsa - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 11:41 am:

    ==That’s just a preposterous and outrageous thing for any mayor to say.==

    Glenn Greenwald, a gay man, strong Progressive voice, lawyer, and noted expert on the Constitution agrees with you, Rich. He published a scathing article about the mayors taking on Chick-fil-a on the website yesterday. Then, in updates throughout the day he firmly pushed back against some of the commenters who disagreed with him. It’s definitely worth a read.

  11. - OneMan - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 11:41 am:

    Not in the mood for opinion litmus tests…

    So if the Pope wanted to come to Chicago would Rahm say “His values are not Chicago values”?

    The other thing that I find entertaining is that none of this is really ‘news’ about that company.

    Finally do we want to start analyzing the spending of every private company owner to see if they giving to things others do not agree with.

    Sorry, you helped fund the federal lawsuit against Chicago’s handgun ban, you are not welcome here…

    Where in the heck does it end.

  12. - OneMan - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 11:42 am:

    Also for what it is worth Illinois GOP this blaming everything on Madigan stuff is getting old, please tell me you have some polling or something that says this works… You have empirical data that this approach actually works, right?

  13. - I'm Just Saying - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 11:44 am:

    Illinois GOP, Noun, Verb Madigan. It’s pretty fricking Stupid actually…..

  14. - Amuzing Myself - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 11:47 am:

    Spot on, Rich. I think anyone who calls what Cathy said “hate” are more close-minded than they claim he is. Just because someone disagrees with you on what they consider a moral issue doesn’t mean they hate you. While that surely exists in small pockets - as with anything - the overgeneralisation of same sex marriage opponents as “haters” in this debate has gotten ridiculous. In fact, most opponents who see homosexuality as a sin - rightly or wrongly - also espouse “love the sinner.” But that’s too complicated to fit in a trendy, memorable sound bite. Everybody needs to take a breath…

  15. - Cook County Commoner - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 11:49 am:

    The LGTB community in Chicago is very vocal, very active and well financed. That’s all you need to know. We’re not dealing with statesmen here.
    This is like when the unions delayed Walmart from building in Chicago’s chatham area for seven years because Walmart is non-union. That the neighborhood desparately needed the store and jobs that came with it was irrelevant. Union clout took community needs and swept them aside.

  16. - Lake County Lounger - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 12:03 pm:

    ==Illinois GOP, Noun, Verb Madigan. It’s pretty fricking Stupid actually==

    Illinois Dems, Noun, Verb Madigan. It’s pretty fricking much the case actually.

    Message Discipline.

  17. - champaigndweller - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 12:07 pm:

    Rich, you’re absolutely right on this issue, legally and morally. If a person or business takes action that violates a law, such as a discrimination law, then that would be prohibited. However, I would expect even Rahm and others to recognize that what someone thinks is very different than what someone does. If we’ve reached a point where the government has the power to ban business on the basis of what an official believes, then the First Amendment, among other things, isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

    Maybe Chicagoans don’t mind paying out settlement dollars for stuff like this?

  18. - Wensicia - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 12:08 pm:

    Emanuel’s gonna have to find a way to backtrack from this. The Tribune was all over it the past couple of days. Good cartoon by Stantis:

  19. - Jimbo - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 12:16 pm:

    The mayor has refused a legitimate business the opportunity to operate in Chicago.Who makes such a decision based on “chicago values” and where are these values codified? And at the same time the mayor welcomes the racist,semitic hating followers of the nation of islam to maintain the peace in the city.Is this in accordance with “chicago values? I think that many Chicagoans would disagree.

  20. - phocion - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 12:21 pm:

    Rich, you’re correct on this. You were not correct, however, when you earlier suggested that it was ok for Rahm to nix the Ricketts’ Wrigley proposal because of their foray into Presidential politics. It was that green light by many opinion makers that lead Rahm to believe that he could use a political litmus test in using governmental powers against those whose views he disagrees with. I thought the anti-Obama ad was wrong, and I don’t agree with Chick-Fil-A views. But I NEVER want the government to use its power to punish for their viewpoints - even (and maybe especially) those I don’t agree with.

  21. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 12:25 pm:

    ===when you earlier suggested that it was ok for Rahm to nix the Ricketts’ Wrigley proposal===

    Ricketts wants taxpayer money for his private business while blasting government spending. That’s a legit issue.

    The Chick-fil-A thing is a zoning issue.

  22. - Nuance - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 12:25 pm:

    All business owners that are not Cub fans must immediately move out of Chicago:)

  23. - ChicagoR - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 12:40 pm:

    I don’t know a single gay person (myself included) who supports the idea of denying permits or zoning to Chick-Fil-A or any other company on the basis if its owners’ speech, values or donations. Moreno may have meant well, but he overreached by half. It’s fine to personally refuse to patronize an organization that is repugnant to your beliefs (I don’t patronize Chick-Fil-A), but they still have a right to do business.

  24. - Jake From Elwood - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 12:49 pm:

    This issue had me fuming last night when I watched the 10:00 news. Isn’t it religious discrimination to deny a zoning permit to a corporation on these grounds? This is not a public health and safety issue, it is being advanced because the Mayor and one flaky Alderman do not agree with the corporate CEO’s personal religious views on the propriety of gay marriage.

    If you don’t like his views, get your fast food chicken elsewhere.

  25. - titan - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 12:50 pm:

    @ChicagoR - take it one step further, you’re also free to very vocally disagree with the man’s opinions. And remaining civil in how one expresses disagreement is always a good idea (as you have here).

    The line comes at using government coercion, threats or physical force in response to someone’s opinions.

  26. - PublicServant - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 12:56 pm:

    Rich, you’re right on here. Having said that, if business owners feel compelled to take a stand on controversial issues, I have no problem with Rahm and Joe publicizing those opinions then letting their constituants determine whether or not they want to do business with the firm.

    I was happy to see the Sun-times had an article on the local franchise owners, saying that those views are the ceo’s not our’s. I have a feeling that if this actually does start hurting business the president, ceo, or whatever will be gone. That’s why businesses like to contribute to shadowy organizations where they can remain anonymous, having the organization, like IPI, do their dirty work for them.

  27. - OneMan - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 1:03 pm:

    I have a feeling that if this actually does start hurting business the president, ceo, or whatever will be gone.

    Unlikely, they are a privately held family company. Dude isn’t going anyplace.

  28. - reformer - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 1:13 pm:

    The state GOP is so predictable that their press releases write themselves. It’s all Madigan’s fault.

  29. - titan - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 1:16 pm:


    == Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno says the door isn’t entirely closed on a new Chick-fil-A restaurant opening in his 1st ward.
    Moreno told WBEZ that the owners seeking to build the restaurant have said they won’t support any groups with a political agenda, including those with an anti-gay marriage stance.
    Moreno says if he gets an explicit guarantee from the franchise owner he will consider granting zoning rights to a new Chick-fil-A in Logan Square.
    “If they’re serious about that, and they’re willing to put that in writing and they’re willing to adopt that. I think those are the grounds where we can move forward,” Moreno said. ==

    Someone from Corporation Counsel’s office needs to sit him down and have a serious talk with him. The Civil Rights suit liability should a permit ever be denied to the company could be staggering.

  30. - J - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 1:27 pm:

    Someone could really easily do State GOP MadLibs with these press releases.

    For Immediate Release:

    [State Problem] is Madigan’s fault. Voter’s in this state won’t tolerate Mike Madigan’s [Negative Attribute] any more. Lisa Madigan is just as bad [demeaning reference to Mike Madigan].


  31. - Todd - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 1:42 pm:

    Rahm sits there and says this company, by virtue of their owners beliefs don’t represent Chicago’s values.

    And now, he and others in city government, with others cheering them on are threatening to use zoning excuses to stop a legal business from opening. does it really surprise anyone?

    This coming from those that tell us we should be tollerant of others views. From those who claim some moral superiority on “social” issues.

    The same people who embrace Louie Farakahn as an answer to the volence. But I guess he preresnets those Chicago values.

    the same guy who’s answer is to wag a finger at gangbangers and tell them to take it else where, while “employing” gang/former gang members through grants to quell the violence cause that’s the Chicago values we need.

    the same guys who voted to pay off victims of the Burge torture so the former Mayor would not have to be deposed under oath and can’t even utter the wor’d we’re sorry, for putting innocent men behind bars for decades.

    Yea, the owner who answered a question about his political beliefs, and used the system we have to participate with the money he has earned from a company his family built, gets threatend and extorted by a couple of wanna be tin pot dictators becuase opposing gay marriage isn’t a chicago value.

    They think themselves Kings and everyone else serfs. if the US Attorney had any courage, they would be sitting in Rahm’s and Marenos office grilling them about civil rights violations, threatening either criminal or civil suits.

    that itsn’t going to happen and I doubt that our own AG has the guts to do it either.

    rant off/

    I hope the owners, would seek a suit with a perment injunction to tie the city’s hands and have them cough up a few million for the threats and actions of these public servents.

  32. - wordslinger - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 2:13 pm:

    For those who thought whacking Jack Ryan and bringing in Alan Keyes was the most embarrassing era in Illinois GOP history, Pat Brady begs to differ.

    Seriously, if I had a tin-foil hat, I’d say that dude was MJMs son.

  33. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 2:18 pm:

    Amen, wordslinger.

  34. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 2:18 pm:

    Your earlier comment, that is…

  35. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 2:30 pm:

    Thank you Wordslinger!


    Maybe I am all “wet” on the ILGOP strategy, but I have yet to see HOW I all wrong. I do, honestly and truthfully, try to use snark to help. I try to give honest advice too, in hopes of a change. I am but one. There are others who agree, as I agree with them, yet nothing changes. Soon, I may bypass anger and snark and move to being ashamed of my party, and that time is fast approaching.

  36. - Demoralized - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 2:30 pm:

    ==In fact, most opponents who see homosexuality as a sin - rightly or wrongly - also espouse “love the sinner.”==

    Nice try. That’s a bunch of hooey. They only say that to make themselves feel better. It’s unadulterated hate. Period. End of story. Ever had a pastor you’re not welcome in his church because you are a heterosexual? No? Well I’ve had one say “see ya later” because I was gay. Hypocrites one and all.

  37. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 2:33 pm:

    The issue isn’t Dan Cathy’s personal religious or political beliefs, or even that Chick-fil-A donates to right wing causes.

    The issue is that Chick-fil-A makes hiring decisions based upon their Biblical definition of marriage, at least according to Cathy’s interview with the Baptist Press.

  38. - Responsa - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 2:52 pm:

    Chick Fil-A’s President of Public Relations died suddenly this morning of a heart attack accoirding to Business Insider. Donald Perry was a 29 year veteran of the company.

  39. - Bluefish - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 2:59 pm:

    If we boycotted the products of every company whose CEO believes in the Biblical definition of a marriage our homes might look pretty empty.

  40. - OneMan - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 3:04 pm:


    Here is the interview

    Proof for your statement that they make make hiring decisions based on the definition of marriage from that interview please…

  41. - too obvious - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 4:26 pm:

    Just when you thought Pat Brady and the IL GOP couldn’t get more shameless. First trying to fundraise off this. And second not mentioning the name of the Chicago mayor who is about the only one who stood in support of the sole, mostly unknown alderman who stirred up this distraction.

    And why avoid mentioning Rahm’s name? Because most of the few remaining big donors to the IL GOP are also Rahm supporters. Plus Pat Brady’s employer Price Waterhouse probably doesn’t want him hitting the mayor.


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