Chicken sandwiches and political speech
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In one of the oddest demonstrations in recent memory, people came out and made political statements across the country Wednesday (Aug. 1) by buying — or not buying — chicken sandwiches.
The fast-food restaurant Chick-fil-A has become ground zero on a debate over gay rights and the rights of the owners of a private company.
This was the scene in Albuquerque outside a Chick-fil-A franchise on what was called “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” as a long line of cars stacked up at the Paseo del Norte location in Albuquerque:
The background in the controversy: Two weeks ago, the CEO of Chick-fil-A said in an interview with a news agency of the Southern Baptist Convention that he opposes gay marriage.
In addition, the mayors of Chicago, Boston and Washington DC said Chick-fil-A was not welcome in their cities.
That led to a backlash by some who, while supporting gay marriage, felt that, as Scott Shackford of Reason.com wrote, threats from such mayors “plainly offends the spirit of the Constitution—and sets a horrible precedent—for public officials at any level to punish otherwise legal forms of speech with arbitrary exercises of government power.”
The Boston Globe editorial board — famous for its liberal political stances — scolded Boston Mayor Tom Menino, posing the question, “which part of the First Amendment does Menino not understand? A business owner’s political or religious beliefs should not be a test for the worthiness of his or her application for a business license.”
Menino backed off his comments a day after the Globe editorial, saying, “I make mistakes all the time.”
In Martinsburg, West Virginia, one Chick-fil-A location had to be evacuated Wednesday for three hours after somebody phoned in a bomb threat.
Here in New Mexico, here’s how KRQE-TV covered the Albuquerque angle in its Wednesday afternoon newscast: