1. Yeah, but says

    I don’t see the relevance of NYU’s anti-discrimination policy. I’ve seen no indication in any news reports that Chick-Fil-A has engaged in discriminatory practices, either in hiring/firing decisions or in refusing service to any customer because of sex/sexuality/race/etc.

    What Quinn and others are advocating is totally antithetical to the First Amendment. The government should not be seeking to discriminate against businesses whose owners support particular political causes. Of course, that’s not to say that NYU students can’t boycott the restaurant and try to drive it out of business, but that would be consistent with actions protected by the First Amendment.

    Quinn’s just wrong, and I hope she wises up to just how wrong she is soon.

  2. Yeah, but says

    To follow up on this statement: “it’s unclear how Chick-fil-A’s position might fare under the auspices of a university that strives not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.”

    It is clear. Chick-fil-A would still be right, and would win in a cakewalk if this were to be litigated. Again, there is zero indication that Chick-fil-A has engaged in any discriminatory practices.

  3. Abie says

    Slippery, slippery slope.
    Try and remember what happens when people say “I don’t want those gays and their business in my neighborhood”. The Cathys and Chik fil A are horrible, but they are not doing anything illegal.
    The price of free speech is having to take the bad with the good. Personally, I think that Dan Cathy is digging his own grave, and I’m happy to sit back and let him do it. If you don’t want Chik fil A around, then don’t buy their food and encourage others to do the same.
    It’s not hard.
    Their food is awful.

  4. Yeah, but says

    Maybe Quinn’s next letter will ask Sexton to fire any NYU professors who have donated money to political candidates who oppose marriage equality.

  5. Chris says

    Absolutely not. The first amendment specifically prohibits government punishment for speech, and you cat get any more direct than this ..Quinn is trying to put someone out of business because of what he said.

    If people do it, citizens unite and stop buying their product, that is one thing. If government does it that is another.

    @david ehrenstein. Are you actually calling people doormats for understanding t he constitution? Take 5th grade civics class, then come back and talk with the grown ups. Until then, real activism requires knowledge of the government and acceptance that others have rights too.

  6. Tim NC says

    @Yeah But…. If you don’t see any discrimination in hiring, franchising or service by Chick-Fil-A, you just haven’t been looking very hard.

    “Chick-fil-A continued over the weekend to defend itself against charges that the Atlanta-based restaurant chain is anti-gay, with its president contradicting his own family foundation about whether it accepts gay couples.”

    “The company’s Christian culture and its strict hiring practices, which require potential operators to discuss their marital status and civic and church involvement, have attracted controversy before, including a 2002 lawsuit brought by a Muslim restaurant owner in Houston who said he was fired because he did not pray to Jesus with other employees at a training session. The suit was settled”

    Few knew that founder Truett Cathy had firm opinions about the personal lives of the owners of Chick-fil-A’s 1,600 franchises and their employees. He preferred them married, and expected adherence to the company’s stated mission to “glorify God.”

    “Family members of prospective operators — children, even — are frequently interviewed so Cathy and his family can learn more about job candidates and their relationships at home,” Forbes reported in 2007, when Cathy was 86.

    ” ‘If a man can’t manage his own life, he can’t manage a business,’ says Cathy, who says he would probably fire an employee or terminate an operator who ‘has been sinful or done something harmful to their family members.’ “

  7. Tim NC says

    Ask Chick-Fil-A how may franchise owners are LGBT or how many are Jewish, Muslim, atheists or just not evangelical Christians.

    Ask Chick-Fil-A if they have corporate anti-discrimination policies in Atlanta that address sexual orientation and gender identity.

  8. Yeah, but says

    @Tim NC – the only link you posted there that suggests active discrimination involves a lawsuit from 10 years ago. The mention of hiring practices there refers to “operators,” not employees. Likely, this takes Chick-fil-A’s practices outside the scope of Title VII (for somewhat technical employment law reasons), though could still violate local ordinances. In any event, none of those articles suggests a pattern of discrimination in hiring practices (which would obviously be very troubling).

    At the end of the day, the basis for Quinn seeking to get rid of Chick-fil-A is because of the opinions and donations of its owner; a government official should know that this would violate the First Amendment.

  9. Yeah, but says

    @Tim NC – Again, you can boycott Chick-fil-A because it doesn’t like gays, but the government cannot refuse to issue/revoke permits b/c of that. This is what the First Amendment is for; Abie’s point re: a slippery slope here is right. Do we want anti-gay mayors to tell pro-gay businesses they can’t open in their cities?

  10. james says

    If the students, faculty, and staff at NYU stop eating at the CFA unit on campus, it will close due to lack of business. This would be a far, far better way to “remove” them from campus because it would show how the market works when a business’s public statements make customers and potential customers stay away.

  11. Tim NC says

    @Yeah, But…. An “operator” is a franchise owner. Chick-Fil-A discriminates in who it will sell a franchise license to. They interview their franchise candidates about their religious beliefs and family life. How is that relevant other than to discriminate against non evangelical Christians?

    Which part of the last link where Cathy admits he would fire an employee for “sinful” behavior do you not understand as discriminatory?

    The first link I posted showed that the family foundation WinShape provides family counseling services but refused those services to gay couples. That is discrimination to “customers”.

  12. daftpunkydavid says

    uuugh … politicians! such posturing… things that she could actually do, she dodges (for instance bringing to a vote the proposal supported by gloria steinem). but things that she can’t do, well by golly, let me do some grandstanding. she’s better than this and i’m a bit disappointed.

    as much as the views of this company’s president are hurtful and erroneous, i think it’s more important to uphold our free speech principles.

    how would we have reacted if this city’s city council president urged nyu to kick out a company because the owner held pro-gay views???

    new york state and nyu prohibit discrimination; if the company hasn’t broken any laws, i don’t see how they can get kicked out “just” because the president of the company expresses anti-gay opinions.

    that’s why we freaking have FIRST amendment rights. if you want to hurt cathy, then by all means, exercise your own free speech rights: boycott his chain, organize protests, right op-eds, etc.

    but what quinn is doing is more akin to political posturing in my opinion…

  13. mld says

    david is the only one of you making sense

    leadership should be the voice of their constituency. EVERY progressive leader should be making this stance. it is not a law, it is a position. learn the difference.

  14. Tim NC says

    @Yeah, But….. There have been other examples on other blogs. I just don’t have the links for them. In one case a woman was fired because the company thought she needed to be a “stay-at-home” mom. In another case a 32 year old man was fired because he was still single at 32 (they presumed that meant he was gay). Like I said, if you can’t find discrimination, you just are looking very hard to find it.

    Does Chick-Fil-A have corporate policies banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity? No, they don’t. HRC gives them a ZERO rating. So, they have no policies. Any statement they have made about discrimination since this most recent controversy erupted has only addressed customers. They have not made any statement addressing employees or Franchisees.

  15. Johnson says

    When Woolworth’s treated African Americans poorly, they staged sit-ins. I believe that kind of tactic would still work today.

    It’s called civil disobedience. It works.

  16. Yeah, but says

    @Tim NC – No reported cases of discrimination in selecting franchisees in any link you provided. He apparently gave a Muslim a franchise according to the NYT article, in fact.

    WinShape isn’t Chick-fil-A. And whether refusing services to gay couples is a question of local law – wouldn’t be discrimination under federal law.

    You haven’t challenged my main point – a government entity may not discriminate against a company because of the political/religious beliefs of its owners. Do you not recognize the slippery slope problem here? Do you actually think this would be a good precedent to set?

    Any time the ACLU takes a position that’s at odds with advancing LGBT rights, you can be pretty sure the LGBT folks are in the wrong legally (again, I’m all for trying to drive Chick-fil-A out of town, but through legal means only).

  17. Johnson says

    You go in, purchase a waffle-fry or whatever, and spend six hours eating it. You go to the drive-through window and take your time reading the menu and ask lots of questions about the food before deciding you don’t want to order anything.

  18. Johnson says

    Remember, Chick-fil-a operatives are working overtime on comments all over the internet. They are trying to DISCOURAGE you. Have COURAGE instead, things CAN and WILL change, but we must make them change.

  19. Yeah, but says

    @MLD A politician should be asking people to do something that’s plainly unconstitutional? And shouldn’t be bothered to concern herself with that fact? Do we want the city to expend resources defending a lawsuit it has no chance of winning?

    You may want to note that Mayors Menino and Emanuel both immediately backed off their positions (similar to Quinn’s) once it was pointed out to them that they were advocating something that’s plainly unconstitutional.

    @Tim NC – EVERY single big company gets sued for this kind of stuff. Ho hum. A couple of isolated lawsuits every once in a blue moon doesn’t suggest a pattern of discriminatory practices. I’m sure you could find tons of similar lawsuits filed against McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, etc.

  20. Tarc says

    Let’s be honest, as an American, Cathy is entitled to his opinion, and he’s entitled to talk about it, to donate to whomever he likes, and to use his private company to do whatever he wants to do (that remains legal). He doesn’t need to apologize for what he thinks, though the rest of us will hold him responsible for his views since he is both adamant, public, and seeks to impose his views on others. The bottom line is that Cathy is a bigot and his views and actiosn are plainly unAmerican, and instituting his values through his company puts him at odds with much of the American public, basic American values like equality and fairness, and is quite likely unConstitutional. It’s completely appropriate that NYC and NYU, both having appropriately American antidiscrimination policies, are calling out Chik-Fil-A and seem to be taking appropriate action. The United States is a incredibly diverse nation, and it’s essential that the laws and ideals that ensure that everyone is equal under the eyes of the law are enforced.

  21. George says

    How is this letter in any way violating anyone’s free speech? They’re exercising their free speech by making it known that they don’t support gay Americans and by donating to extremist causes, Quinn exercises her free speech by writing a letter that urges – not obligates – NYU to think about whether their mission is in conflict with providing a space for a business that denigrates the hopes and dreams of their LGBT students (and probably overtly discriminates in states where that is legal), NYU may exercise their free speech by agreeing with her suggestion or no, Chik Fil-A continues to enjoy the free speech to do and say what they want, but not to do so without consequence. And I’m exercising my free speech by writing this comment and not going to that vile restaurant. Censorship is a real thing–it used to happen against gay people here and still does in much of the world. And frankly, the orgs that Chik financially support want to bring antigay censorship back. We can’t let that word become meaningless; that only allows the enemies of our community to claim victimhood. Chik Fil-A is not being censored and their free speech is not in danger. They are being criticized and they should be. Go Quinn!

  22. Johnson says

    While it is abundantly clear that YEAH, BUT is a Chick-fil-a PR flack, his central point is sound, we CANNOT wait for politicians to solve the Chick-fil-a problem, because they can’t! We must do it ourselves. Sit-ins are the best way to go about it, you go in, sit down order the cheapest thing on the menu and sit there until you asked to leave. But, you don’t leave then, make them call the police, when the police arrive, they will tell you you are trespassing and ask you to leave, that is when you leave. It works if there is a constant stream of people waiting to take you place. RINSE, LATHER, REPEAT…

  23. DannyEastVillage says

    Would you guys who are posting here against Quinn’s action and who are Jewish feel she was wrong if she sought to eject an organization whose owner was vocal about his anti-Semitism?

    Yeh I didn’t think so. First Amendment rights do NOT extend to speech that incites harm–palpable harm. Have you guys not seen enough to believe that hate speech – *espeically* religious hate speech–incites violence against gay people?

  24. Chris says

    @gEORGE. if Christine Quinn were a private citizen, that might be true, but she is a government official, sending a letter requesting that a legal business be closed because of something the owner SAID, not did.

    Many here have tried to link to incidents of discrimination, actual acts. That’s great, but Christine Quinn doesn’t reference them, so they are irrelevant to this issue. She is doing this based solely on words. Again the Government CANNOT interfere in political speech, on either side. Please read the First amendment, and if necessary look up some legal interpretations of it. One thing is clear the government cannot punish an individual for political speech, I cannot say it enough times.

    Those of you who think this is a good thing, what if it were reversed and some Evangelical mayor was requesting that a business be closed because they donated to a gay marriage initiative? That’s exactly what is being done here.

  25. Yeah, but says

    @Johnson – I am gay, and nothing would make me happier than Chik-fil-A suffering for Cathy’s bigoted positions. BUT I’m also a lawyer, and my gut reaction to Quinn’s letter is “C’mon, you know better than this.” Do you really want government institutions to be permitted to decide who can open a business in their towns because of the views of the business’ owner?

    @George – Nobody (at least, nobody here) has suggested people don’t have the right to express their opinions, or that Quinn didn’t have the write to send the letter. However, if her suggestion (and that of Mayors Menino and Emanuel) were acted upon, the result would be plainly unconstitutional. As long as Chik-fil-A respects all local/state/federal discrimination laws (and consistently with the First Amendment, there can be no law forbidding Cathy from expressing his views on gay marriage), it cannot be refused the right to open a restaurant because of Cathy’s personal views. We, however, can boycott it.

  26. Yeah, but says

    @Johnson – Your suggestion makes no sense. This isn’t like the Civil Rights Movement and the sit-ins at Woolworth’s, etc. Those people were actually being refused service, and refused to leave until they were served. They were trying to shine a light on Jim Crow laws permitting Woolworth’s to deny them service.

    How would buying stuff at Chik-fil-A and sitting there prove anything? They probably wouldn’t care one bit. Try to get people not to go there, instead.

  27. mld says

    you guys are such sunday activists. this is EXACTLY what leadership should be doing. its not just passing laws its being an advocate for the population which they represent.

    @yeah but, if you are lawyer and you think a politician expressing a viewpoint and ‘urging’ someone to do something (as her letter states) is the same thing as enacting a law forcing them to do so, than you need to go back to school.

    there are a lot of self-loathing yesterday’s-gays in this forum.

  28. Tim NC says

    @Yeah, But… I did address your main point. You and I just disagree on what is actual demonstrated discrimination. I’m not for anyone ejecting Chick-Fil-A for Cathy’s speech. I’m for ejecting him for his ACTIONS. It is quite plain from the data I provided that Chick-Fil-A uses a religious test in their hiring and franchise procedures. Truett Cathy, the company founder, admitted it himself. Thta is discrimination, plain and simple and is not related to Mr Cathy’s right to free speech.

    To your other point… ifthere were an LGBT owned company engaging in discriminatory procedures I would want them ejected too.

  29. Kyle M. Sullivan says

    This is WRONG. Anytime a government official starts trying to tell anyone what they can say, think, or do is just plain dangerous. It doesn’t matter if we agree with their reasons or not; if they can do something like this for me, they can do it against me.

    It’s like that old saying aimed at a mistress: “Honey, if he cheats with you, he’ll cheat on you.” And I do not want any aspect of US government to think it has any sort of right to tell anyone what they may say. I do not want that precedent to be set, because next year, they may aim it at gay-friendly companies.

    Not cool. Not at all.

  30. JohnAGJ says

    @Dannyeastvillage: Wrong. Have you forgotten about the march on Skokie in the 70s? I would still say that Quinn’s remarks are inappropriate from a public official. Freedom of speech if it is to mean anything and remain one of our central rights applies even to that speech we find to be repugnant and despicable. Cathy has not advocated violence against gays, there is no established pattern of discrimination against gays that contravenes state or local law (although it wouldn’t surprise me), etc. Until you can prove that Chick-fil-a as a company, with Cathy in particular, is violating the law and not just expressing an opinion that’s unpopular in some quarters, the government has no damn business sticking its nose into it. Now, Quinn as a private citizen of course has free speech rights and if she wants to tell the world how disgusting she finds Cathy’s position to be, that’s a-okay. Yet NYU would be stupid in the extreme and subject to one helluva an enormous lawsuit if they followed her “advice” let’s say. Protest, boycott, do everything within the law to make Chick-fil-a uncomfortable and perhaps change their view on this but that’s it. Besides, this outlet is located at NYU for cryin’ out loud. How difficult would it be to use LAWFUL means to put them out of business there? Of course, be prepared for the backlash as those businesses who’ve taken progressive stands meet the same kind of wrath in predominantly conservative communities.

  31. Tim NC says

    @Yeah, But….. Actually, I think the Alderman in Chicago is going about this the right way. He has been working with Chick-Fil-A for MONTHS now on their desire to open a new restaurant in his district. He has concerns about their “policies”, not their “speech”. He noted that the statement they put on their FaceBook page about not discriminating against anyone would be a positive step forward…. if they really mean it…. And, he says, if the statement applies to employees and Franchise owners as well as customers. He has suggested that they take that FaceBook statement and put it in writing in their corporate HR policy manual. When and if they do that, he’s more than happy to welcome their restaurant to his district…..

  32. TJ says

    Christine Quinn is a FAKE! She along with dictator Bloomberg overturned the vote of the people with regard to term limits..does she really care about the people?

  33. mld says

    you people have spent so much time under neocon leadership you forget what the world is suppose to look like. STOP TOLERATING INTOLERANCE. and please for the love of god, learn what the 1st amendment actually means.

  34. Don says

    Since when did NYU become Nazi Germany? Every restriction will double the resistance. Is this woman trying to make a name for herself? Listen to Mayor Bloomberg. This is not the business of the city, or city university. You’ve given your enemy too much free publicity. Even though you look like a cross between the young Patty Duke, and singer Adelle, I don’t care. Are you gay? If not take a hike.

  35. andrew says

    What Quinn is urging is a totally un-American response to an intolerant fundamentalist exercising his freedom of speech. These government officials should stop their grandstanding. People who disagree with the Cathy company’s positions on this matter should stop spending their money at those chicken joints. The people can organize boycotts. The government should stay the f**k out of it.

  36. says

    Chick-Fil-A uses money with the goal of depriving you of equal protection under the law. They don’t believe you have constitutional rights. And their extreme values are at direct odds with the moral and legal values of any equality-supporting citizen or state. So, spare us the CFA’s 1st Amendment rights are being violated. Boohoo. They’re an adult company; they can fight back if they believe they’re being unfairly treated.

    Anyone who believes in our equality should be speaking out against CFA. It’s not about their “beliefs”–it’s about their actions that seek to deprive you of basic civil rights. Yet, the politicians who are speaking out and saying we don’t want discrimination-enabling businesses in our neighborhoods are being vilified for standing up to bigotry.

    Whether there is the legal right to shut down a CFA or prevent one from opening up on the basis of CFA’s actions is an open question–that’s what the legal process is for. (CFA’s non-discrimination and benefits and hiring policies should be looked at very carefully; it’s hard to believe they’re willing to play by equality-state rules.) The hysteria over how poor CFA is being subject to un-American or Naziesque tactics is such nonsense. Has any CFA been shut down via illegal goverment-approved tactics? Yet you’d think Cathy was being sent to the gas chambers.

  37. jamal49 says

    Sliding down a slippery slope here, folks. And, all the self-aggrandizing gay or pro-gay politicians are searching for a bandwagon that left the station a long time ago.

    It’s not government’s business to punish companies whose COO has a personal opinion that doesn’t agree with the government.

    Chick-Fil-A, its owners, its associates, its customers are surely wrong about their opinions regarding LGBT people. But, let’s just not get wrapped up in “punishing” private individuals for expressing their alleged “deeply-held spiritual beliefs” about the so-called “biblical defintion of marriage”.

    There are much larger battles to be won at the legal, civil level.

    Let the bigots expound their views. Then, let’s publicize those views. But, don’t attempt to stifle them or punish them because of their views.

    Nothing gets accomplished, we come across as “bullies” (ironically) and against free speech, and–the worst thing of all–we stoop to their level.

    Let’s keep it classy. Real, but classy.

  38. andrew says

    Many Catholcs and Protestats believe that people of religions other than their own are destined for HELL. Should government officials move to shut down or interfere with their businesses? That is what much of the Chick-Fil-A opponents are calling for. That is a very dangerous slippery slope.

  39. Sandy says

    I am a huge supporter of gay rights and marriage equality, but I think this is kind of ridiculous. So the head of a Christian-run business says he’s anti-gay-marriage and you all act surprised?!?! How idiotic are you? Are you going to ask the Catholic Church to leave New York as well?

    We need legislative victories, and victories in the courts. We are not going to convince Christians to like us by stomping our feet and yelling at them. We have a really good Constitutional argument for marriage equality on at least 3 bases (1st amendment, 10th amendment, 14th amendment). Let’s focus on those and let religious people hate in peace.

  40. wimsy says

    So, Bloomberg would be okay with setting up a Ku Klux Klan recruitment office on campus? How about the American Nazis? Or the PLO?

    Guess it would be okay so long as they don’t serve 16-ounce Cokes at their meetings.

  41. Zooly says

    “Let me be clear,” she wrote, “I do not want establishments in my city that hold such discriminatory views.”

    Wow. Just, wow. FRIGHTENING. Chick-Fil-A serves every person who enters their doors. Even people who want a free cup of water. Chick-Fil-A does not practice discrimination in their hiring.

    Now a business owner’s “VIEWS” (not their tangible service practices) are enough for a government official to disallow business in a particular location? FRIGHTENING. Mayor Bloomberg, thank you for having a common-sense knowledge of the 1st Amendment. Ms. Quinn, as of yet, you are not the arbiter of THOUGHT POLICE. Mr. Cathy’s views may be repugnant, but he has broken NO LAWS. Who is next? A Jewish business that disagrees with your views on Israel? A Muslim who thinks homosexuality is wrong? Krystallnacht ring a bell?

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