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Cock Block: Chicago Alderman Blocks Opening of Chick-Fil-A In His Ward

By Anthony Todd in Food on Jul 25, 2012 3:10PM

2012_7_25_Moreno.jpg The latest in the saga of Chick-fil-A, homophobia and political grandstanding is taking place in Chicago. Just days after Jim Henson Productions and the Mayor of Boston have said no to Chick-fil-A, Ald.Proco "Joe" Moreno (1st) has announced that he plans to stop Chick-fil-A from building a new store, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel has spoken out in support of Moreno.

The Tribune reports that Moreno's actions are in direct response to the anti-gay statements of Chick-fil-A's President, Dan Cathy. "If you are discriminating against a segment of the community, I don't want you in the 1st Ward," Moreno said in a statement. Emanuel echoed Moreno's sentiments, opining that "Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values."

The new location, the second Chick-fil-A in Chicago, was going to be on the 2500 block of North Elston. It's already been zoned, but Moreno is using aldermanic privilege to block the land purchase and construction. The city council could ignore him and allow the building to go ahead, but it's highly unlikely. Moreno has been in contact with Chick-fil-A for months, and they assured him that they would not discriminate against customers or take political stands. So much for that.

There is no doubt that Chick-fil-A is captained by a homophobic jerk. While they have managed to dance around allegations of bigotry for years and distance the chicken sandwiches from the company's anti-gay discrimination, the CEO's public assertion of his jerk-hood put the kibosh on that game. Now their only hope is that people don't care or that they will become the official chicken sandwich of the socially-conservative wing of the Republican party.

However, does that make this appropriate? Moreno's actions will likely provoke some serious criticism, and not just from conservatives. Rather than calling for a boycott of the business or closely monitoring them for any actual discrimination, he used aldermanic discretionary power. While we happen to agree with him this time, what happens when Moreno (or another alderman) wants to stop a business, farmer's market or residential development for other, less pure reasons? We'll soon find out whether the voters of his ward like his strong stances on issues like this.

Update (1:30 p.m.): The conservative anti-gay marriage Illinois Family Institute has taken a potshot at Moreno already, calling his actions discriminatory. The executive director of that organization told the Trib how he felt about the alderman's decision.

“It’s hypocritical. Here’s the alderman turning around and being intolerant and discriminatory because somebody has a different view than he does. Would he do that to a Muslim company? I think what Ald. Moreno is doing is terrible. He is playing partisan politics. He is pandering to a segment of his district or his ward, and he’s actually not helping his overall community by refusing to help develop that part of the ward to bring in jobs and to bring in tax revenue. It’s like cutting your nose off to spite your face, all because Mr. Cathy spouted his opinion about same-sex marriage.”