Chick-fil-A | Christine Quinn | New York | News

NYC City Council Speaker Christine Quinn Asks NYU President to Kick Chick-fil-A Off its Campus

NYC City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is urging New York University, which rents space to the city's only Chick-fil-A restaurant, to kick the franchise off its campus because of its support for anti-gay causes.

QuinnSays Quinn, in part, in a letter sent today to NYU President John Sexton:

NYC is a place where we celebrate diversity. We do not believe in denigrating others...As you know from recent press coverage, the President of Chick-fil-A continues to make statements and support causes that are clear messages of extreme intolerance and homophobia and a belief that LGBT Americans are less than others and deserve to be treated as such.

Let me be clear -- I do not want establishments in my city that hold such discriminatory views.

I urge you to sever your relationship with the Chick-fil-A establishment that exists on your campus. This establishment should be replaced with an establishment where the ownership does not denigrate a portion of our population.

Quinn's full letter, AFTER THE JUMP...

Quinn's move comes a day after NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters that it's "not government's job" to block businesses based on their political beliefs.

However, 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.

Quinn has also started a petition on demanding Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy apologize and change his position.

Quinn Letter to Sexton

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  1. 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...

    Posted by: Johnson | Jul 28, 2012 5:53:56 PM


    We have guts. To confront fascists like you.

    Posted by: AG | Jul 28, 2012 6:16:05 PM

  3. 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?

    Posted by: DannyEastVillage | Jul 28, 2012 6:22:36 PM

  4. @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.

    Posted by: Chris | Jul 28, 2012 6:24:33 PM

  5. @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.

    Posted by: Yeah, but | Jul 28, 2012 6:26:58 PM

  6. @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.

    Posted by: Yeah, but | Jul 28, 2012 6:29:51 PM

  7. 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.

    Posted by: mld | Jul 28, 2012 6:37:54 PM

  8. @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.

    Posted by: Tim NC | Jul 28, 2012 6:45:25 PM

  9. 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.

    Posted by: Kyle M. Sullivan | Jul 28, 2012 6:52:10 PM

  10. @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.

    Posted by: JohnAGJ | Jul 28, 2012 7:38:36 PM

  11. @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.....

    Posted by: Tim NC | Jul 28, 2012 7:41:54 PM

  12. So anyone who wants to stand up to homophobes is a fascist, eh?

    Neat little con game ya got goin' there.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jul 28, 2012 8:39:21 PM

  13. 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?

    Posted by: TJ | Jul 28, 2012 8:46:56 PM

  14. She is right, kick the Cock fil A's out.

    Posted by: Mike | Jul 28, 2012 10:30:22 PM

  15. 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.

    Posted by: mld | Jul 29, 2012 12:14:00 AM

  16. @ Ehrenstein

    It's one thing to stand up to homophobes. It's another thing to be more totalitarian than they are. You repugnant little fascist.

    Posted by: AG | Jul 29, 2012 12:48:44 AM

  17. 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.

    Posted by: Don | Jul 29, 2012 1:56:07 AM

  18. 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.

    Posted by: andrew | Jul 29, 2012 2:31:32 AM

  19. NYU is Nazi Germany?

    Where's Liza Minnelli in all this?

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jul 29, 2012 8:52:45 AM

  20. Here she is (getting to the heart of the matter as always)

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jul 29, 2012 8:54:14 AM

  21. the biggest bigots in America..are liberals

    Posted by: CrazyDave | Jul 29, 2012 11:23:42 AM

  22. 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.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jul 29, 2012 11:40:49 AM

  23. 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.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Jul 29, 2012 1:54:46 PM

  24. Gays vs. Chickens. Chickens win, Gays are chicken.

    Posted by: Brad | Jul 29, 2012 7:03:33 PM

  25. @Brad: To put it politely: Piss off!

    Posted by: andrew | Jul 30, 2012 1:05:29 AM

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