Chick-fil-A and free speech

In Chicago, the competition for the title of "most embarassing alderman" is intense and never-ending. But for the moment, no one comes close to Joe Moreno, who says he won't allow Chick-fil-A to build a restaurant in his 1st ward because he abhors its president's views on same-sex marriage.

As it happens, I agree with Moreno on same-sex marriage. Where we differ is on the First Amendment, of which he seems ignorant. It forbids the government from "abridging the freedom of speech."

Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy made a statement. Moreno, who is part of the Chicago city government, wants to punish him for it. It's as black-and-white a case of illegal censorship as anyone could find. And if the company wants to challenge Moreno's decision in court, he wouldn't stand a chance.

Moreno doesn't even try to conceal his censorial motive. And he shares it with Mayor Emanuel, who is proud to endorse trampling on the Constitution. "Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values," Rahm said. "This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty."

Really? It's Chick-fil-A's money, so why don't we let the company assess the wisdom of the investment? And why don't we let the citizens of Chicago decide whether they want to boycott the chain over gay marriage?

Chick-fil-A executives have the right to think and say what they want about political and moral issues. Consumers have the right to eat at these restaurants or to stay away in protest. And Moreno and Emanuel? They have a right to mind their own business.

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