ACLU To Chicago: "Aldermanic Privilege" No Reason To Cock Block Chick-fil-A
By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jul 27, 2012 2:35PM
The American Civil Liberties Union is the latest to weigh in on Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno’s (1st) intentions to block a Chick-fil-A franchise from opening in Logan Square. We’ll spare you the suspense: The ACLU isn’t siding with Moreno.
“The government can regulate discrimination in employment or against customers, but what the government cannot do is to punish someone for their words,” said Adam Schwartz, senior attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. “When an alderman refuses to allow a business to open because its owner has expressed a viewpoint the government disagrees with, the government is practicing viewpoint discrimination.”
The ACLU “strongly supports” same-sex marriage, Schwartz said, but noted that if a government can exclude a business for being against same-sex marriage, it can also exclude a business for being in support of same-sex marriage.
“But we also support the First Amendment,” he said. “We don’ think the government should exclude Chick-fil-A because of the anti-LGBT message. We believe this is clear cut.”
George Washington University Law School Professor Jonathan Turley added that Moreno’s intended use of “aldermanic privilege” would be “excessive and likely unconstitutional.
The publicity resulting from Moreno’s announcement earlier this week has the alderman now open to the possibility a Chick-fil-A can operate in his ward, but with some qualifiers. The main caveat Moreno wants is a promise from the Chick-fil-A franchise owner that they won’t support groups with a political agenda, especially anti-gay rights groups. Oh, and traffic issues around the stretch of Elston Avenue needed to be addressed before he would grant zoning for the store.
That would be like having a Harold’s Chicken Shack only serve rotisserie chicken.