And that is how Boston rolls, you bigoted douchebag

Good for you, Mayah.

H/T: Janelle

49 Responses to And that is how Boston rolls, you bigoted douchebag

  1. blueollie says:

    Ok, I like the letter too. But what do you think about the licensing/permit obtaining procedure. Should Chick-Fil-A be subject to the same processes as any other business?

    Also, do you think that people doing the “economic boycott” thing would be “legal but immoral”?

    I am very curious.

    • Of course they should be subject to the same licensing and permitting procedure. Why wouldn’t they?

      And I see nothing wrong with an economic boycott of the place.

      • ShelbyC says:

        Well, the mayor at one point suggested chick-fil-a might have a problem getting necessary licenses.

  2. Mark M. says:

    Yeah, fuck the First Amendment!

    • Shawn says:

      Came here to say pretty much this. I think if he wanted to give a speech calling them down for their stance it would be cool. But to use his position of power in government to sanction someone for expressing protected speech… I gotta say there’s a line.

      “I disagree with your speech, sir, but I respect your right to it, and will die to defend it”

      • So it would be ok if he said it into a microphone, but not ok if it is on a piece of paper?

        • ruralcounsel says:

          Too bad it isn’t his opinion that is objectionable, but his abuse of politcal office and power to punish legitimate speech of an opinion he disagrees with.
          Hypocritical asshat, Menino is.

          • show me the punishment and I’ll endorse your view

            • He initially threatened that he would use his authority to make it difficult for licenses to be obtained…

              And others who have followed his lead have done the same…

              Yeah, he walked back the worst of it, but it was his original intention.

              And I guess I look differently on the mayor saying “I really really don’t like this business” to the people who will be renting the space the business will use. It smacks of intimidation.

  3. justsomeguy says:

    There is no minimum standard for boycotting a business. I could boycott a business if they had something red inside on a Tuesday if I felt like it. Simply put, in the free market, Chick Fil A is free to do whatever it wants that’s legal (including expressing political views). Likewise, consumers are free to go elsewhere for chicken sandwiches. If someone wants to try to organize a boycott, they are free to do that. This is the free market working as intended.

    And there’s nothing immoral about it. Saying “I disagree with this company’s politics, won’t give it money, and you should do the same” is not immoral. It’s life. Hundreds, thousands, millions, whatever amount of other people saying the same thing likewise isn’t immoral.

    Could this ruin their business? Yes, that too is called life. Welcome to the free market. We play kind of rough around here.

  4. Shushers says:

    I don’t know what anybody expected from a Baptist? He is entitled to his opinion and honestly, nobody is bitching about Chik-fil-a’s long running tendency to fire openly gay employees, just the founder’s opinions. The same goes for Sub Way. And yet, most people in the gay community knowing this, will still buy their products. I see nothing wrong with this. It does not destroy the quality of the product. There is another issue to take into consideration. Both of the restaurants are franchise corporations. If you have a problem with this discriminating, go to another store in your area which may not practice discrimination. After all, they are franchises. They do not necessarily have to agree with Dan Cathy about gay people. There are some instances where boycotting is a good measure. In this instance, I think it is just organized whining. As a gay man, I just don’t see the point over a comment alone or discriminating behavior that is not even under Dan Cathy’s control.

  5. Rogier says:

    The Mayor of Boston, the boss of the city, the man who presumably has more pull and influence there than anyone, uses official letterhead to let a 100% legal private business know that he is angry, insulted, and that the business in question is not welcome. NOT because the owner/CEO of the company has done anything illegal (Chick-Fil-A serves all customers and has no discriminatory hiring practices that we know of), but because he, the CEO, has a Biblical interpretation of the term marriage — as do dozens of millions of Americans.

    The threat is hard to miss: “Come here and I and my men will fuck you up.” Menino is the guy, after all, who has the ultimate say over zoning issues, building permits, occupancy permits, business licenses, health inspections, city tax enforcement, parking, the works.

    I have very little regard for Christian fundamentalists and have been a longtime passionate advocate of marriage equality, but rest assured that I will climb the barricades with the Bible thumpers over this one.

    Chick-Fil-A’s CEO has every right to speak his mind. Menino does too, I suppose, but only in a private capacity — not if he invokes the power of his office. His letter is thinly veiled thuggery, and I can’t understand why you, Mr. First Amendment Attorney, don’t condemn it. You crow about Menino’s actions, but I doubt you’d feel that way if they were directed against, say, a 100% legal California porn production company that wanted to move into Boston. Goose, gander, etc.

    Sorry, situational ethics always piss me off. Especially when I encounter them on a blog that normally DEFENDS free speech.

    • I agree. I can’t get over the fact that a Private entity is being threatened for having an opinion.

      Maybe it isn’t a popular opinion, but that doesn’t matter.

      I would have thought that, of all places, this site would be pissed off by this letter.

    • jesschristensen says:

      Governments, through elected representatives, voice official opinions all the time. That too is protected speech. He didn’t deny or even threaten to deny a permit or license. If Chick-fil-A was denied an otherwise lawful request for a license or permit because of expressed views, that would be an action that violates the First Amendment. But, there is nothing in the Constitution that prevents a government from having or expressing a view or opinion.
      If a CEO said “I think pedophilia should be legal” and the mayor of Boston said “the people of Boston have clearly expressed their view to the contrary, through the enactment of criminal laws” would that be inappropriate governmental speech?

      Because, that is basically what the mayor of Boston said to Chik-fil-A, except he added “and I think your view is bigoted and fucked up.”

      If Boston doesnt like what he said on their behalf, they can choose not to re-elect him. Go democracy.

      • Sending a copy of the letter to the owner of the property CFA was going to locate on, while saying “we don’t like you, and don’t want you here” isn’t abuse of the bully pulpit?

      • Let me clarify…

        Had the Mayor sent a letter without the official letterhead, that would be one thing, but he didn’t do that.

        He sent a letter with the full, official letterhead of his office, and that’s crossing a line.

        • jesschristensen says:

          Understood, about the letterhead. I am not saying it isn’t dicey water, or at least potentially so. But, without more, it is not per se abuse. If there was a history of the mayor voicing an official opinion, with disruptive or unfair results, then perhaps (read: “we don’t like your kind” resulting in denial of homeownerships, etc).

          But in a way, the very public, officially attributed, communication of such a strongly worded lookin suggests that the mayor is asking the property owner to do business according to his conscience, not issuing a mandate.

          The abuse, more often than not, happens without any official moniker and behind closed doors. Here, the mayor appears to be putting it all on the table, in the light, and not hiding from debate.

          If only it were always so.

          • jesschristensen says:

            Above: lookin = opinion. Stupid autocorrect.

          • “But in a way, the very public, officially attributed, communication of such a strongly worded lookin suggests that the mayor is asking the property owner to do business according to his conscience, not issuing a mandate”

            And in a way it sounds an AWFUL lot like “Yeah, you COULD do whatever you wanted… But boy it sure would be a shame if something happened that we didn’t like…”

            It sounds too much like “That’s a nice business you got here… be a shame if anything were to happen to it…”

          • Rogier says:

            “The mayor appears to be putting it all on the table, in the light, and not hiding from debate.”

            And? I see very little virtue in open thuggery, rather than backroom thuggery.

            • Guys, the First Amendment doesn’t protect you from having the sands of your zen garden of paranoia disturbed. If the government actually does something that impinges on free speech, that’s unconstitutional. If the government’s speech occurs in a context such that there is a DEMONSTRABLE chilling of free speech, that can be unconstitutional. But there is nothing about the First Amendment that says that the government should refrain from saying anything that makes your conspiracy theory antennae wiggle.

              Sounds to me like you’re saying that you want (assuming you prefer a democratic state) to elect government representatives to speak for you, but then only allow them to speak “officially” if that speech doesn’t express preference, opinion, or a point of view that conflicts with anyone else’s preference, opinion, or point of view. Why can’t a government say “you’re not welcome here”? There a lot of people in the world who I would not welcome to my town.

              I am not saying that you can keep them out, necessarily. But, I think its fine to express a lack of hospitality. Like, “hey, Khmer Rouge, you’re not welcome at the BBQ”. That’s not — in and of itself — thuggery, even if it’s a mayor who’s saying it. No, the CEO of CFA isn’t the equivalent of a ruthless armed militia (yet). But, so what?

            • Well Jess, that’s different.

              I suppose you’re right, that the Government trying to slyly influence private business is perfectly fine so long as you agree with the government’s position…

            • And if you don’t agree with the government’s position (as expressed by government officials), you rally the peeps to vote them out of office. Yes, that’s precisely how it’s supposed to work. Policies contain opinions. Letters contain opinions. Press conferences contain opinions. Laws contain opinions. That’s why politics isn’t easy. But, the answer isn’t to say that the government, or government officials, should be intellectual and ideological eunuchs with no expressed viewpoints. As is often heralded here, more speech, not less. And, don’t forget, the property owner is free to tell the mayor to go fuck himself and sell to CFA. Which, perhaps, would also be an expression of an opinion.

  6. I just wanna point out the irony of the following – apparently the mayor gives tax money to a muslim group that falls rather on the “kill the gays” part of the Muslim spectrum.

    So…

    Not supporting gay marriage = bigotry

    Supporting a group that thinks killing gays isn’t a bad idea = nothing important and not worth talking about.

  7. Kathleen says:

    Doesn’t bother me. We have a First Amendment remember?

    • VPJ says:

      I’m rather surprised to see Mr Randazza has the mayor’s back on this one.

      Mayor Menino certainly has the first amendment right, as all of us do, to his opinion on the subject. But, given his position of official influence, this quote:
      “’I sent (the landlord) a letter, but that’s all. There’s no pressure by me to allow this place to be rented,’ he said.”
      (source: http://bostonherald.com/business/general/view.bg?articleid=1061148712)

      Sounds like a nice-place-ya-got-here-be-a-shame-if-you-were-to-rent-it-to-da-wrong-guys kind of letter to me. Given that it was issued on government letterhead, I have a hard time believing that he didn’t step way over the line.

      • Sure, if you see a conspiracy theory here.

        • ruralcounsel says:

          Not conspiracy, just abuse of poitical office. He’s entitled to his private opinion, but he is ethically bound to not play favorites among the citizenry.
          This isn’t the kind of violation of ethics that should get you unelected, it’s the kind that should get you a criminal record.

          • Kathleen says:

            Cheer up. I read that at least one Chick-fil-A, in Virgina, has had so much business lately that employees had to put out orange cones for the line of cars into the parking lot. Also that Mike Huckabee declared tomorrow, Wednesday, Aug. 1, Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day. Hilarious.

  8. Ghost says:

    There’s no room for discrimination in this city… Irony?

    Let them fail on their own. The more the government does shit like this, the more company owners will be quiet about what they support; meaning that the profits that we, the consumer, give them could be going to things like Westboro or the Black Panthers or some other thing you don’t support.

    If this was a Klan store, the ACLU would be defending them. I don’t get how this is different.

  9. ShelbyC says:

    I wonder to what extent those of us who value tolerance should, you know, tolerate the views of those with whom we disagree? Can’t he be wrong without being a douchbag?

  10. Canvasback says:

    Dear Marco,
    Dan Cathy must have touched you in a sensitive spot. Normally, you’re all for free speech by the citizens. Here, you’re backing the mayor of Boston who has openly suggested punishing Chik-fil-A over a matter of opinion.

    • jesschristensen says:

      All opinions are (and should be) equally protected by the First Amendment.

      Which is not to say that all opinions are equal. Some are just down right idiotic and bigoted. As the Mayor correctly noted in his letter.

      You really want a government that takes the “official” position that “there are no bad ideas”?

      There are a LOT of really fucking bad ideas out there, and it’s up to people, including the government, to point them out so that, say, people don’t go on and do that shit. Because it’s a bad idea.

      The CEO of CFA totally, actually, in-fact, DID express his opinion. No one stopped him. No one punished him for it. No one censored him. What happened is a LOT of people, including the Mayor of Boston, said “dude, that opinion of yours is totally bigoted bullshit.”

      Whiners. People need to stop being such cry-babies about infringements on their free speech rights simply because other people don’t agree.

      The First Amendment says that the government will not infringe on your right to speak freely. It DOES NOT say that if you say some stupid shit, you won’t get called out on it.

      To the contrary, one of the main functions of the First Amendment is to ENSURE that when people say really stupid shit (especially people in positions of power, like, say, CEOs of multi-national corporations), other people can call them out on it. It’s your constitutional right — some might say your patriotic duty — to call people out on the really stupid shit they say. Particularly when the bad idea their championing is intended to ACTUALLY deny some people their rights.

      • ruralcounsel says:

        If the government were any good at picking out which ideas were bad….

        • jesschristensen says:

          Granted, sometimes (some might say often) it’s the government that says the stupid shit and comes up with the bad ideas. And there, the FA protects people who call them out on it. But I don’t want a government that has no point of view.

          And, for the record, I’m all for same sex marriage. So, I am myself biased in favor of the Mayor’s point of view. Others will be biased in the opposite, and come election day next, one of those views will in some way prevail. But, the likelihood of real, lasting change in favor of equal marital rights goes up the more politicians and high-visibility people speak out against those who would deny marriage equality. That’s how it’s always worked, and as of yet, we’ve not seen a better system that functions over time.

    • And I am all for Dan Cathy expressing his view on gay marriage. I am also all for Mayor Menino expressing his. You’re making things up when you say he “openly suggested punishing Chick-filA over a matter of opinion.” You’re just making it up so that it fits your view.

      Menino did, at one point, say that they would “have trouble getting permits.” He correctly backed down from that. But there is absolutely no reason why a mayor can’t say “this business is not welcome here” or “this view is not welcome here.” The Mayor of Skokie had every right to say “the nazis are not welcome here,” but he had no right to deny them a permit to march there. If you’re too stupid to understand the distinction, I don’t get paid by the reader.

  11. Seth says:

    What the hell am I reading?

    The government publicly criticizes an individual for expressing an opinion, and you’re applauding this?

    This isn’t about tolerance — I don’t give a fuck if you hate me or not. It’s about the government taking the position that there will be consequences for those who make statements that aren’t okay.

    Dismiss me as a bigot if you want — I’ll go on arguing in support of gay marriage regardless — but seeing this from a self proclaimed “First Amendment Attorney” is rather puzzling.

    • I’m not sure what the problem is. Yes, the mayor criticized him for his opinion. When is the last time anyone got their panties in a wad when a president, governor, or mayor stood up and condemned a point of view that he felt was inconsistent with his, or his constituents’ values?

      They cross the line when they engage in state action, but speech? The mayor gets to say “we hate you” to Chick-fil-A. The mayor even gets to say “as Mayor, I speak for this city when I say that we hate you.” The mayor doesn’t get to pick up the phone and call the zoning department and say “fuck up their permits.” If you understand the difference, but you still think that government officials shouldn’t express a negative view of anyone else’s free speech, I don’t know what to tell you.

      • So merely THREATENING state action is cool?

        Uh, ok…

        • jesschristensen says:

          No, it’s not cool. Definitely not cool. He overstepped the boundary there, and then he retreated. And I’d bet a lot of money that if CFA applied for a license or a permit NOW, it’d be approved without any delay because the City would want to avoid even the slightest appearance of state action given that the Mayor made such strong public statements.

          But, none of that negates that the Mayor is free to say “you’re not welcome here” or “we think your views are despicable” or anything like that without violating the FA. Legally or ethically.

          • I’m with you, had he just sent the letter to CFA…

            But I really do think there was an effort to intimidate the business partner by sending a copy directly to them.

            We’ll skip the fact that making the letter public what just media whoring.

  12. ShelbyC says:

    “The CEO of CFA totally, actually, in-fact, DID express his opinion. No one stopped him. No one punished him for it. No one censored him. What happened is a LOT of people, including the Mayor of Boston, said “dude, that opinion of yours is totally bigoted bullshit.”

    A lot of people did indeed express opposition to the CEO of CFA’s opinion. Good for them. But they are not mentioned in this post. The person singled out for praise in Mr. Randazza’s post, however, threatened CFA with difficulties in obtaining business licenses because of the CEO’s political views, and the letter being praised in this post conststs of the mayor, in his official capacity, informing CFA that there is “no place” for their company along Boston’s freedom trail because of their political views. How would we view a mayor writing a CEO claiming there was no place in his city for the company because of, say, the company’s support for the mayor’s support in the election?

    “Which is not to say that all opinions are equal. Some are just down right idiotic and bigoted. As the Mayor correctly noted in his letter.”

    This makes about as much sense as saying that there are some intimate relationships that are downright perverted. There are, of course, some ideas that most of us have thoroughly rejected, to the point that it’s pointless to discuss them, but opposition to gay marriage is a mainstream view held by close to a majority of people in this country.

  13. jesschristensen says:

    “How would we view a mayor writing a CEO claiming there was no place in his city for the company because of, say, the company’s support for the mayor’s support in the election?” — we’d view it as illegal under current election laws.

    “There are, of course, some ideas that most of us have thoroughly rejected, to the point that it’s pointless to discuss them, but opposition to gay marriage is a mainstream view held by close to a majority of people in this country.” — well. slavery and anti-suffrage were also once mainstream views, held by a clear majority. But, that doesn’t make them good ideas. And, they were idiotic and bigoted ideas. The difference? People have been saying for a long time now that it’s wrong to own slaves or deny women the right to vote, so the idea seems thoroughly rejected BECAUSE those holding those mainstream views were called out on them, time and time again, until the laws changed. Hopefully, the same will happen with same-sex marriage laws (as it already happened in places like Boston).

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