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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Moreno fights to keep Chick-fil-A out of his "hipster ward"

Posted By on 07.25.12 at 11:50 AM

Chick-fil-A president and COO Dan Cathy has never been too shy about his staunch adherence to old-school Christian values and his support of what Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon describes as "traditional, penis-vagina marriage"—Salon also recently ranked the always-closed-on-Sunday chicken chain number one on its list of top-five right-wing food companies.

In an interview last week with the Baptist Press, Cathy went a bit smug when asked about the company's well-publicized stance on "traditional family."

"Well, guilty as charged," he said. "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."

And can you believe it? The comments didn't go over too well.

The Jim Henson Co., which provided toys for Chick-fil-A kids' meals, just split from the chicken chain following Cathy's comments—though there inexplicably and too coincidentally now seems to be a safety issue with the toys (surprise!)—and Boston mayor Thomas Menino has vowed to make it difficult for any more Chick-fil-As to open in his city.

Chicago hero Joe Moreno is joining the scuffle now too. If he can get his way—quite probably through aldermanic privilege—the First Ward alderman plans on blocking the construction of a Chick-fil-A in his neighborhood, telling the Chicago Tribune, "If you are discriminating against a segment of the community, I don't want you in the 1st Ward."

Reporter Hal Dardick writes:

Chick-fil-A already has obtained zoning for a restaurant in the 2500 block of North Elston Avenue, but it must seek council approval to divide the land so it can purchase an out lot near Home Depot, Moreno said.

In opposing Chick-fil-A, Moreno stakes out a position likely to resonate in his hipster ward and much of the rest of the city, where public officials have long cultivated the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. But Moreno also enters the complex intersection of property and free-speech rights.

The alderman, serving his first full term, dismissed any First Amendment concerns.

"You have the right to say what you want to say, but zoning is not a right," he said, adding that he also had concerns about traffic in the area.

Though I don't really understand Dardick's need to describe the ward as being "hipster"—the word usually carries a negative connotation and just reeks of condescension—if it has anything to do with Moreno supporting the legalization of marijuana, hosting punk rock karaoke at Quenchers, and fighting off antigay companies from setting up shop on my block, then I guess call me "hipster" all you damn well please.

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