"We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. We operate as a family business ... our restaurants are typically led by families – some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that ... We intend to stay the course. We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles."Lots of people went crazy about it, calling for boycotts of the business and calling Cathy a bigot and all kinds of other lovely names. I was totally fine with the developing discourse - that is the beauty of this great country! We can believe what we want and speak out about what we want as individuals, just as Cathy was doing. We can even speak out against those who don't have the same beliefs we have, too!
These are freedoms which exist simply because of our humanity; they aren't given to us by anyone, any government, or any institution. They are simply because we are. The Constitution of the United States secures these unalienable rights for us. In short, the Constitution puts the government on notice: These are our rights and you SHALL NOT infringe upon them.
This includes people we don't agree with, which means sometimes we don't "win." This is certainly the case with the West.boro Baptist Church (of Craziness). What they say and do is absolutely vile. It's wrong. It's hateful. I wish they would crawl back under whatever rock it is they came out from under. However, it is a Constitutionally protected right for them to say those things and act in that manner, a right which was just upheld during the last SCOTUS session. Once again, the Constitution didn't give them those rights, they exist because they are humans. Same with the Code Pink Crowd. Or the OWS groups.
So as the discourse about Cathy's comments unfolded, I watched with a bit of delight as this issue played out in the marketplace of ideas. There is nothing that warms this little-L-libertarian's heart more than healthy, vigorous, and sometimes heated debate, even about an issue that is particularly close and sensitive in my family.
However, the delight ended when Rahm Emmanuel and other public officials started their comments about boycotting Chick-Fil-A, not as private citizens, but as representatives of their local governments. They promised to stop further expansion of Chick-Fil-A in their cities based solely on Cathy's remarks. And this is where this little-L-libertarian cried "foul!" (no pun intended) as this is a clear-cut case of a potential violation of something we Americans like to call The First Amendment.
I am not the only one who thinks so, either. Adam Schwartz, senior attorney for the ACLU of Illinois thinks so, too.
“The government can regulate discrimination in employment or against customers, but what the government cannot do is to punish someone for their words...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.”
“But we also support the First Amendment. We don’t think the government should exclude Chick-fil-A because of the anti-LGBT message. We believe this is clear cut.”
I like chicken.
But even more than chicken, I love liberty. And I love my sister.