Jens 'n' Frens
Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."
  -- Daniel Webster

Sunday, July 22, 2012 :::

I consider myself a tentative supporter of same-sex marriage. My tentativeness has less to do with any specific argument against it than
  1. a general Burkean/Chestertonian wariness of upending longstanding cultural institutions that we can't possibly fully understand (tempered by the fact that marriage has already gone through a bigger change than same-sex marriage with the institution of no-fault divorce)
  2. the awareness that I, personally, don't really understand how gender role-modeling works, and that there could be something important going on there that would be undermined if same-sex marriage were not only recognized but widespread and
  3. the fact that so many of same-sex marriage's biggest supporters are so closed-minded that their position can't have really been thought out.
In re this last factor,
Mayor Thomas M. Menino is vowing to block Chick-fil-A from bringing its Southern-fried fast-food empire to Boston — possibly to a popular tourist spot just steps from the Freedom Trail — after the family-owned firm’s president suggested gay marriage is “inviting God’s judgment on our nation.” “Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion,” Menino told the Herald yesterday.
Note that there have not actually been any assertions, as far as I know, that the chain has discriminated against homosexuals the way Mayor Menino is discriminating against people who have different beliefs than he.
“The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender,” the [company's] statement read. “Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.” But that isn’t cutting the mustard with Menino. He said he plans to fire off a letter to the company’s Atlanta headquarters “telling them my feelings on the matter.” “If they need licenses in the city, it will be very difficult — unless they open up their policies,” he warned.
I am led to wonder how serious Menino is about this. If he really wanted to prevent them from opening in Boston, it seems to me that he would work behind the scenes to scuttle permits; I'm sure he could come up with some excuse in each instance, and it would be very hard to prove that he was engaging in viewpoint-based discrimination. Obviously, going public is meant to endear himself to political allies, but it might actually hurt the attempt to prevent the Chick-fil-A from moving in - I'm not sure they could actually prove discrimination, but it seems that Menino's statement could lessen their burden. Even if his attempt to suppress dissenting opinions does, in fact, fail, I hope to see supporters of same-sex marriage (by which I mean people whose support is more robust than mine) denounce Menino's bigotry and clear disregard of the first Amendment. UPDATE: I caught wind of this via Facebook, but it occurred to me as I was finishing it that I would have a good chance of finding a supporter of same-sex marriage denouncing Menino's bullying at Popehat. Indeed, I did. UPDATE 2: Eugene Volokh picks up the story, also noting a similar story in Chicago and pointing out case law in conflict with both. UPDATE 3: With the Boston Globe taking the side of liberty and pluralism, I'm feeling more comfortable that this is getting the push-back it deserves. UPDATE 4: I'm not expecting a lot of people to come back here, but in case they do, I want to include this collection of liberals supporting free speech.

::: posted by Steven at 12:46 AM

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Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

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