US restaurant chain attacked for supporting marriage
Two American city mayors want to stop a sandwich chain from opening new stores in their cities after the president of the company expressed his support for traditional marriage.
Dan Carthy, president of ‘Chick-fil-A’, which has 1,615 stores in 39 states, told an online Baptist journal in July that his company was: “Very much supportive of the family – the Biblical family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family led-business and we are still married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”
His comments have led to an extraordinary backlash against the company. Homosexual groups are pushing for a boycott of the stores and the mayor of Washington, DC, suggested that the company was peddling “hate chicken.”
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have now each stated that they want to prevent Chick-fil-As stores from opening in their cities. Mr Menino wrote in a letter to the Chick-fil-A president stating that there is no place for the store in the city. He claimed that having a branch open across from City Hall would be an “insult”.
However, an attorney from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), David Cortman, said that a restaurant cannot be blocked from opening because of the owner's beliefs.
"It absolutely is not constitutional," Cortman told the Baptist Press. "And I think the irony here is that they are claiming this is an issue of freedom and civil rights, but they're actually the ones who would be violating the civil rights of Chick-fil-A not to allow them to open up their business simply because of their views."
Cortman said that the issue effected any business or organisation in America whose owners held views different from that of the government.
Billy Graham has now intervened, stating:
"I want to express my support for my good friends Truett Cathy and his son Dan Cathy, and for their strong stand for the Christian faith.
“I've known their family for many years and have watched them grow Chick-fil-A into one of the best businesses in America while never compromising their values. Each generation faces different issues and challenges, but our standard must always be measured by God's word. I appreciate the Cathy family's public support for God's definition of marriage."
In response to the backlash against the sandwich chain, a day of support for Chick-fil-A was organised on Wednesday 1 August.
‘Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day’ was the idea of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, and led to people across the nation turning out to purchase food from their local Chick-fil-A store, with many stores reporting record queues.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said:
“This is a classic example of the intolerance of those who want to impose their sexual ideology on the rest of us, and their attempt to penalise anyone with opposing views.
“If same-sex marriage is introduced in the UK then this kind of censorship of views and oppression will become even more common that it is already.”
Tim Stanley, a columnist for the Daily Telegraph, wrote: “Liberalism without a profound respect for difference is just fascism by another name.”