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Such a hypothetical should make it easy to see how it plainly offends the spirit of the Constitution—and sets a horrible precedent—for public officials at any level to punish otherwise legal forms of speech with arbitrary exercises of government power.
That a political official would make decisions over which businesses may operate in his community based on their owners’ beliefs will lead to even more outrageous abuses. Menino and Moreno need to be reined in. If customers want to consume the Cathy family’s sandwiches in spite of their marriage views (or sadly, because of them), then politicians can very well stay out of it. If customers don’t want them, then the problem will resolve itself in due time.
Scott Shackford is an associate editor of 24/7 News at Reason.com.