It sure didn't take long for SF Mayor Ed Lee to crash the Chick-fil-A blocking party. After Chicago and Boston mayors Emanuel and Menino announced they would move to prevent the terrible and homophobic Southern Baptist restaurant chain from opening within their cities, Ed Lee threw his facial hair in the ring, tweeting his disappointment in business's lack of “San Francisco values” towards marriage equality.
And I'm sure we can all agree that the business's anti-gay stance is, to put it lightly, “disappointing.” But it was Lee's next tweet—a thinly-veiled threat that he'd also block any Chick-fil-As from moving into SF—that gives me the chills.
Take this into consideration: Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy expressed some pretty backwards opinions on civil rights, but as Salon noted, “aside from the fact that Chick-fil-A is always closed on Sunday, there’s no evidence those [anti-gay beliefs] have been institutionalized in any way. There’s no record of refusing service to gay patrons, or unfair hiring practices, or a hostile work environment.”
Effectually, Ed Lee is reserving himself the right to veto any business from operating in the city solely because he disagrees with the opinions of its owner. That's shady, and significantly more alarming than the fact that a chain restaurant that is closed on Sundays doesn't support gay-marriage.
Do we want to entrust a man who was elected mayor by less than 8.5% of the city's population, with political enemies on both the right and left, to decide what businesses can and cannot open within our limits based on whom he agrees with? Do we want to live in a city in which our mayor curbs our rights based on what we say and how we feel? And what about the 25% of San Franciscans that voted in favor of Prop 8? Are they not allowed to open businesses in the city which they live?
That's not to say San Francisco should welcome any Chick-fil-As with open arms. We are a smart and informed city that knows when to boycott and protest a terrible business, but as citizens.
Rest assured, should they ever open a franchise in the city, we would loudly greet them with puke-ins and “Eat Mor Cock” signs. And that's exactly the point. As the city that praises free expression and protest to the point we celebrate gross old men being nude in public because “that's their right,” we should be comfortable with confronting the opinions of those whom we wholeheartedly disagree.
I'm sure Ed Lee's approval rating and Klout score saw a bump after making the threats, but what's good for the polls is not necessary right, or legal. Taking away someone's right to free speech to promote the rights of another is not a San Francisco value. It's a shame the mayor does not agree.