Chicago Alderman’s Win over Chick-fil-A Nothing to Cheer About

Well, this is a victory to be celebrated by nobody, nowhere: A Chicago alderman is dropping his objection to a Chick-fil-A building a restaurant in his district in exchange for the company agreeing not to donate money to groups that oppose same-sex marriage. Via the Chicago Tribune (registration required):

Ald. Proco "Joe" Moreno, 1st, said the restaurant has agreed to include a statement of respect for all sexual orientations in an internal document and promised that its not-for-profit arm would not contribute money to groups that oppose gay marriage.

Though Moreno said he scored a "big win," the company made nearly identical pledges in a July 19 Facebook post that went up even before Moreno took issue with Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy's opposition to gay marriage.

The statement of respect also falls short of Moreno's goal of adding language opposing discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to the company's employee handbook.

Just to make it clear, Moreno was going to block this restaurant not because of issues with infrastructure or traffic issues or safety or any actual matter of municipal governance. He was going to block the construction of this restaurant because he objected to the political positions of the company owners and their constitutionally protected speech in the form of donations. This is not something supporters of gay marriage should be proud of. It is something to be terrified of. It is a weapon that can be used against anybody whose political views fall within the minority in the communities in which they live.

If there’s any upside to this, I can’t imagine how this agreement could actually be legally enforced. After the restaurant opens, Chick-fil-A could donate money to every hate group that gives the Southern Poverty Law Center the vapors, and what would Moreno do about it?

Read all our previous coverage of the Chick-fil-A controversy here.

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  • Randian||

    The Alderman should be arrested and prosecuted by the Federal Government. Full stop.

  • pmains||

    On what charge? Violating the 1st Amendment Rights of Chik-Fil-A?

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Extortion under color of authority.

    Corruption.

    Bribery.

    I know none of that will happen, but it should. Another win for government control of prosecuting itself!

  • Tulpa Doom||

    He didn't receive or request anything of value from CfA, so none of those apply.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Won't happen... he's a Democrat.

  • tarran||

    I've had a lot of fun asking my high-school classmates on Facebook to explain how this differs from the nastiness of Sen McCarthy.

    It's like firing grapeshot into the ranks of a mob, suddenly everybody disappears, and the comment thread dies from lack of posting.

  • albo||

    "But you're wrong. See, McCarthy was evil, and we aren't. So it's, like, TOTALLY different"

  • tarran||

    Dude! You read their responses!

  • R C Dean||

    I can’t imagine how this agreement could actually be legally enforced.

    Me, neither.

    Of course, all that's happened is that the owner will now make the same contributions out of his own pocket, rather than through the foundation.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    what would Moreno do about it?

    I'm sure sternly worded statement of disapproval on his Facebook page would have an effect.

  • Randian||

    At the risk of deletion, this is truly a sic semper tyrannus moment.

  • ||

    Why does that risk deletion? The squirrels hate latin?

  • Randian||

    It could be construed as advocacy for violence.

  • The Hammer||

    Thus always to tyrants? What? Meek surrender always to tyrants?

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Thus he is always a tyrant?

    (DATIVE case, Randian. Not NOMINATIVE.)

  • $park¥||

    With apologies to Night Shift:

    "CONSTITUTION! But what does that mean really? Sometimes it helps to understand a word if you break it down, so let's do that now shall we? Cons... You know, the people running the government... Tit, I think we all know what that means, Tu, two tit and TION of course, from the Latin to shun... to say uh-uh no thank you anyway I don't want it, to push away... it doesn't even belong in this country really."

  • Doctor Whom||

    It is a weapon that can be used against anybody whose political views fall within the minority in the communities in which they live.

    It is a weapon that has been used against companies and organizations that aren't anti-gay enough for local politicians' liking. It's almost as though there were some sort of iron law.

  • sarcasmic||

    Some people will change their view based upon whatever view the majority holds, and thus will never hold a minority opinion.
    The iron law does not apply to them.

  • sarcasmic||

    If there’s any upside to this, I can’t imagine how this agreement could actually be legally enforced

    Revoke whatever licenses are needed to operate the restaurant, and then say "Fuck you, that's why". What could they do about it? Nothing.

  • Tim||

    They might chicken out.

  • $park¥||

    +fried chicken

  • Tonio||

    Revoke whatever licenses are needed to operate the restaurant...

    That's too obvious, a pretext is needed. The preferred technique is to arrange for city bureaucrats to perform inspections and "find" violations of health and building codes, then revoke the licenses. The system is, of course, rigged so that it's impossible to comply with every jot and tittle of the regs.

    FWIW, I think Cathy is a loathsome and delusional individual, but it's his right to be so without government interference.

  • albo||

    The preferred technique is to arrange for city bureaucrats to perform inspections and "find" violations of health and building codes,

    Pfft. For that to happen, there would have to be an element of corruption in Chicago local government. Get real. That's SOOOO unlikely.

  • RugbyD||

    This is exactly what can happen in Chicago, for those not familiar with how the aldermanic system works.

    Health inspectors may suddenly show up daily, eventually prompting one of them to ask the restaurant owner who they pissed off (true story).

    A health inspector may show up and suggest a particular meat supplier for your sausage factory instead of the one you've used for decades (true story).

    An italian immigrant restauranteur may decide to construct a nice shrine to Vi Daley outside of his tiny storefront to appease the gods (true story).

  • Christina||

    My family went to Chick-Fil-A right after the boycott was called. The place was a ghost town. We went again last Saturday and it was slammed! People had to wait around with trays of food for tables to open up. Before we got there I said to my husband, "I wonder if people are still boycotting." His response, "No way. That was, like, 20 news cycles ago."

  • Tonio||

    People are still boycotting, Christina. But the effect of the boycott is offset by those rallying to CFA's side - either because they agree with CFA or they just hate the heavy-handed tactics of Moreno and those like him.

  • Mickey Rat||

    How many people who would likely boycott a restaurant for this reason would patronize a place like Chick-Fil-A in the first place?

  • BoscoH||

    If I get elected to the city council this year, I'm going to force McDonald's to renounce Keynesianism if they want a badly needed sun canopy for their drive thru.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    And I wouldn't let Wendy's build a restaurant on my turf until they gave me a night with the girl on their commercials.

  • Tim||

    What other plots might this villain be hatching?

  • Romulus Augustus||

    I wish Chick would have told Moreno to jump in Lake Michigan and dared him to hold up permitting over this issue. Yeah, I know, it is easy for me to spend Chick's money, but more companies need to stand up to blackmail.

  • SugarFree||

    They didn't lose any money on this in the short term. Kultur Warriors came out in droves to eat chicken as a way to get back at those horrible gays.

  • Franklin Harris||

    So, what now? Does everyone who celebrated Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day feel betrayed and launch their own boycott?

  • SugarFree||

    I'd love to see it for the lulz. They can even help out by putting who's currently boycotting on a sign out front.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Well Chick-Fil-A did give me what I wanted, so I think tonight I will go buy food from Chick-Fil-A for the first time in my life.

    Worst thing is after all this fuss it turns out I don't like Chick-Fil-A anyways...

  • sarcasmic||

    What do they say about fighting city hall?

  • The Hammer||

    I think Chicago has laws against it. It's sort of like resisting arrest with no accompanying charges.

  • Franklin Harris||

    Setting aside that grandstanding alderman's despicable behavior, if Chick-fil-A has really changed course, I have a difficult tile believing it was just to open a restaurant in Chicago.

  • albo||

    I want to say "Beware this crap, because while it may be me today, it could be you tomorrow," but the idea that Republicans could take control in Chicago is about as likely as Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes vying for AAA's "Best Driver 2012" award.

  • BarryD||

    I'd love to see the two of them race at the local stock car track, though.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    If the GOP gains control of the state govt they can revoke Chicago's charter.

  • Paul.||

    He was going to block the construction of this restaurant because he objected to the political positions of the company owners and their constitutionally protected speech in the form of donations.

    Democrats have backed miles away from "My body, my choice" and now commence to back away from "My mind, my choice".

    It's a wonderful disintegration to watch, really. It's so nutty, you almost have to appreciate it in its utter craziness.

  • Paul.||

    This is not something supporters of gay marriage should be proud of. It is something to be terrified of. It is a weapon that can be used against anybody whose political views fall within the minority in the communities in which they live.

    Oh, as long as you're in charge, you have nothing to fear. Hold on to power tightly, Chicago Dems...

  • ||

    Progressive will use their powers of mind-numbing hypocrisy to ensure that it only gets used against conservatives. As soon as a Republican tries to block construction of a vegetarian restaurant on the grounds that it donates to LGBT groups, they will throw a giant screaming Spaz-In that will completely drown out anyone attempting to point out that the same thing was done to Chick-Fil-A.

    Anyway, progressives are results-oriented. They don't give a flying fuck if they are flaming hypocrites so long as they get the desired end result.

  • Mainer2||

    Proco "Joe" Moreno........

    Never trust a politician who goes by a nickname, in quotes, that's not the actual nickname for his given name. In fact don't trust anyone who's nickname doesnt go with their given name.

  • Paul.||

    I agree. But why are sports figures who have nicknames so beloved?

  • Scarcity||

    Proco Joe is super-cool! He speaks truth to power. And you'll see him at concerts at Empty Bottle and stuff!

    /Chicago Reader

  • Gladstone||

    This is not something supporters of gay marriage should be proud of.

    Assuming of course that those gay marriage supporters are libertarians that is.

  • Loki||

    After the restaurant opens, Chick-fil-A could donate money to every hate group that gives the Southern Poverty Law Center the vapors, and what would Moreno do about it?

    You really don't want to find out. I'm sure there's all kinds of legal harassment the Alderman could engage in. This is Chicago, after all.

  • BarryD||

    Who says it has to be legal?

  • ||

    If there’s any upside to this, I can’t imagine how this agreement could actually be legally enforced. After the restaurant opens, Chick-fil-A could donate money to every hate group that gives the Southern Poverty Law Center the vapors, and what would Moreno do about it?

    If he tried he would rapidly have a first amendment case on his hands.

    Although I support gay marriage, I think Chick-Fil-A should flagrantly violate the agreement to act as a test case and prevent this type of thing from becoming precedent.

  • Paul.||

    I'd think they have a real court case here. This is naked corruption. It's the equivalent of giving you a permit if you donate to Clay Davis' campaign.

    This is no different than an alderman blocking a business permit because the owner of the company donated to his opposition's campaing. No different. At all.

    Not even sure why we're calling this mean-spirited. It's corruption, out there, in the middle of the table with a neon sign flashing "CORRUPTION" on it.

    Moreno should be in jail.

  • ||

    Sort of like reverse corruption. Instead of "i'll give you a permit if you donate to my campaign", it "I won't give yo ua permit if you donate to my opponents campaign."

    It's a political quid-pro-quo. So yes, you're right.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    This is no different than an alderman blocking a business permit because the owner of the company donated to his opposition's campaing. No different. At all.

    It's very different. Donations to anti-gay-marriage groups do not affect the alderman's chances at reelection.

    For it to be extortion etc, there has to be a benefit to the extorter.

  • ||

    Donations to anti-gay-marriage groups do not affect the alderman's chances at reelection.

    Yes they do. Donations to people supporting your opponent (i.e. Your opponents Super PAC, people who might donate to your opponents Super PAC) negatively affect your reelection chances.
    Donations to anti-gay groups may end up in other people's campaign coffer eventually.

  • BarryD||

    Some hate groups give SPLC a big hard-on, too.

  • ||

    That would be auto-fellatio.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    The stupidest thing Moreno said in all this was that Chik-Fil-A didn't represent "Chicago values."

    Shitcago has one of the highest murder rates in the world and long ago became the epitome of corrupt urban Democrat politics. Would that more businesses, not just CFA, didn't represent those values.

  • Apogee||

    Chicago aldermen serve four year terms. The problem with corruption is that those in power gain so much from the position that it's enticing for others to replace them.

    What's keeping CFA from finding and financing an interested opposition?

  • NL_||

    If this were an organic health food store that had to stop funding the Human Rights Campaign as a condition to open a store in Alabama then we would see the politics reversed.

  • Sudden||

    I doubt it would be a complete reversal. I don't see most Team Red types supporting this kind of tactic, even if done against groups the disagree with (outside of the "existential Mooslim threat!1!1!!!1!"). TEAM BLUE however would be complete role reversal.

  • ||

    After the restaurant opens, Chick-fil-A could donate money to every hate group that gives the Southern Poverty Law Center the vapors, and what would Moreno do about it?

    Health code inspectors. Building code inspectors. Etc. With instructions to write up every possible infraction, no matter how minor, and apply the maximum penalty, including shutting down the store until the violations are fixed, and then slow-walking the reinspection process that allows reopening.

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