Read Menino’s Memo To Chick-fil-A On Gay Marriage Stance

Last week, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino told Chick-fil-A it’s not welcome in the city, due to the fast food chain’s public anti-gay-marriage stance.

Now, the mayor’s office has released the letter Menino sent to Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy. In it, the mayor cited Boston’s “long history of expanding freedom” in his urging the company to locate elsewhere.

Here’s the full text of the memo:

In recent days you said Chick-Fil-A opposes same-sex marriage and said that the generation that supports it has an “arrogant attitude.”

Now — incredibly — your company says you are backing out of the same-sex marriage debate. I urge you to back out of your plans to locate in Boston.

You called supporters of gay marriage “prideful.” Here in Boston, to borrow your own words, we are “guilty as charged.” We are mindful of pride for our support for same sex marriage and our work to expand freedom to all people. We are proud that our state and our city have led the way for the country on equal marriage rights.

I was angry to learn on the heels of your prejudiced statements about your search for a site to locate in Boston. There is no place for discrimination on Boston’s Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it. When Massachusetts became the first state in the country to recognize equal marriage rights, I personally stood on City Hall Plaza to greet same sex couples coming here to be married. It would be an insult to them and to our city’s long history of expanding freedom to have a Chick-Fil-A across the street from that spot.

For more on this story, Greg Turner of the Boston Herald spoke to WBUR’s Here & Now Wednesday: “Boston Mayor Says No To Chick-fil-A Over Gay Marriage”

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  • Boston Gal

    Go Tom! As a Bostonian, you make me proud with this memo. Thankfully, this is a written memo because if Tom were speaking, no one would understand him. ;) 

  • Erick Straghalis

    I’m in no way opposed to gay marriage, for the record… but I am opposed to government making decisions on who can or cannot run a business in their city based on personal beliefs (or government officials – Thomas Menino – who write personal letters on official government letterhead to such regards). People have the right to boycott a business for its owner’s opinion, just as much as that owner has a right to have an opinion. That’s *real* freedom. Government should never be in the business of assuming the role of “conscious of the people”. That’s religions job – and why the separation of church and state works.

    • JoeyJoeJoe

      The mayor is only stating that “there is no place” for a Chick-fil-A. Based on this letter, he’s not legislating against the business opening up shop in Boston he is, as you say, making a personal stand on a matter of concern to him as mayor.  Those stands matter to his supporters much like Mitt Romney’s “stand” (or flip-flop depending on who you ask) on gay marriage matters to conservatives. Is the mayor taking an opportunity to grandstand a bit and garner some votes? Probably. He’s a politician, though. They do that (and even on City letterhead).

      Look, if he were calling for legislation to outlaw Chick-fil-A, I’d agree with you that the mayor was “making decisions on who can or cannot run a business” in Boston. But he’s just making a statement.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/2P7PSSZSVFAEM4LN74PMSOUEKI wmsmitty

        But he is using his power as Mayor to usurp influence on City Hall to deny a permit to conduct a place of business in the city of Boston.

        This is beyond the scope of government as the OP states.  Government can not act as the conscience of the people.  This is a perfect example of how government continues to grow stronger in its reach over its citizenry in our every day lives.  

        Government can prevent a place of business from actively discriminating against a customer base or employees.  But it can not dictate a business’ moral standing.  Doing so begets bigotry at a government level and grants ammunition to the state to dictate a moral course that might not be in agreement with a certain percentage of a population.

        • Dorand

          He hasn’t done that yet. Yes he could possibly do that, but you’re stating as fact he has already done that in this case which is incorrect.

          I would also say that politicians and officials have always influence permits and things in this way. Because their friend runs the business, for a bribe, to get a favor, because of support from a particular part of the constituency, etc. In our government, in other governments, and in past governments.

        • JoeyJoeJoe

          If the mayor really wanted to keep Chick-fil-A out of Boston why not keep it quiet, make a few phone calls to the Health Dept., Building, etc., deny the permits and skip the high-profile letter? I think it is because he wants to make a principled stand about his beliefs and/or he wants to garner support amongst certain constituents and/or he wants to make a splash on the national stage.

          If Chick-fil-A, well within their rights, tries to open a store in Boston they will understandably shine a light directly on City Hall if they suspect anything nefarious is keeping them from doing business and it will look bad for the mayor. Instead Menino came out and made a statement. If he behaves illegally  in defense of that statement, then you have a point and he should pay a political price for it.

          A better statement may have been: “Should Chik-fil-A open a restaurant in Boston, I would urge like-minded citizens of our city to join me in a boycott of their services.” Better?

    • EightBallDeluxxx

      hey erick.. if you don’t like, go move to New Hampshire ! ……

    • Richard Paris

      I am not opposed to gay marriage I am very much opposed to government officials making decisions based on personal beliefs. Mayor I can think for myself and vote with my dollars.

      • Rick Rozay

         The Mayor isn’t making any sort of decision for you. He’s urging the Chick-Fil-A president to reconsider. It’s just a suggestion.

    • Rhonda

      Here, here, Erick.  Thanks.

  • Jdubbikin

    regardless of your opinion on the matter. At least he has the guts to speak his mind and not mince his words. It is a strong and very clear message which is more than can be said for a lot of politicians.  

  • Sirius

    regardless of your views…any business that alienates 10% of it’s potential clientele based on sexual orientation and the 50% of the rest us that support them based on human rights and freedoms isn’t a business that will be ‘in business’ for long.

    • Dorand

      Well not here at least. There’s other parts of the country where more than 50% would approve of chick-fil-a’s “activism” for lack of a better word.

      • Juniper9

        I am sorry for you and those in your other parts of the country with narrow minds and children that must hide in the closet for fear of family and community rejection.  contrary to what you and others apparently think as you shove your views down throats…you can’t ‘pray away the gay’ just like you apparently can’t ‘pray away the ignorance’. 

  • Joeleven

    I gotta hand it to Tommy, this took a bit of courage and I agree with him heartily.  Certainly he has done his political calculations and that has influenced his statement.  But I find this refreshing.  Ordinarily, the almighty dollar would rule.  It is fine for a community to have ethical standards and fine for a Mayor to express them in such cases.  If the majority of Bostonians disagree, they can vote him out.  There are a few other businesses who could stand a good tongue lashing for their ethical shortcomings.

  • Leslie

    Class act! 

  • http://www.fibrowitch.net Jan Dumas

    He never said the city of Boston would not allow him to open a restaurant, he said that he urged them to rethink locating in Boston. I think I am pretty proud of Mumbles today. 

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