NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday that despite his own support of same-sex marriage, he disagrees with some of his fellow mayors who have said that the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A should be blocked from their cities because of its opposition to gay marriage.
Bloomberg said it is inappropriate for a government entity to look at somebodys political views and decide whether or not they can live in the city, or operate a business in the city, or work for somebody in the city.
The billionaire businessman-turned-politician was asked about comments from Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee criticizing Chick-fil-A.
Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy angered gay-rights advocates, including the mayors, when he said the company was guilty as charged for backing the biblical definition of a family.
Emanuel said Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values, and Menino wrote in a letter to Cathy: There is no place for discrimination on Bostons Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it.
Lee tweeted Thursday: Closest #ChickFilA to San Francisco is 40 miles away & I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer.
Richard Socarides, a former Clinton White House adviser on gay rights who is urging a boycott of Chick-fil-A, said Bloomberg is right.
Consumers can disagree with a companys corporate political position and decide not to spend money there, Socarides said. But the city cannot regulate speech by denying someone a permit to operate their business just because you disagree with their political beliefs.
Menino has more recently said he was expressing his own opinion and acknowledged there is little he could do to prevent the chain from coming to Boston.
All four of the mayors are strong supporters of gay marriage. Bloomberg officiated at the wedding of two male aides when New York legalized same-sex marriage last year.