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Bloomberg Says Chick-fil-A Welcome in New York Despite Its Anti-Gay Stance

By Jill Colvin | July 27, 2012 12:01pm
Mayor Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Gov. Andrew Cuomo march in the gay pride parade.
Mayor Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Gov. Andrew Cuomo march in the gay pride parade.
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Getty Images/Jemal Countess

NEW YORK CITY — Mayor Michael Bloomberg says Chick-fil-A is welcome in New York, regardless of the fast food chain's presidents’s anti-gay marriage stance.

Bloomberg, who has been a staunch supporter of marriage equality, said Friday that political views shouldn't play a role in which businesses are allowed to open in the city — even if he disagrees with their views.

"You really don’t want to ask political beliefs or religious beliefs before you issue a permit. That’s just not government’s job, ” he told WOR’s John Gambling during his weekly radio show.

“This is just a bad idea," he added, "and it’s not going to happen in New York City.”

Other mayors, including Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel and Boston’s Tom Menino have said they would block the Southern chain’s chicken sandwiches from arriving in their cities because they disagree with the company's stance.

Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy was recently quoted saying he supports the “biblical definition” of marriage as between a man and a woman and prays for “God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we would have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is all about.”

But Bloomberg sided against his fellow mayors.

“I disagree with them really strongly on this one,” Bloomberg said, urging them to think about what would happen if the tables were turned.

"No matter how much you dislike somebody else’s views, think about what would happen in the cities where the views are on the other side,” he said, referring to more conservative cities with conservative populations and mayors.

Bloomberg said that, when it comes to freedom of speech, "everybody’s in favor of it, as long as it’s what they want to hear."

But, “Trampling on the freedom to marry whoever you want is exactly the same as trampling on your freedom to open a store.”

As a result, he said that, if Chick-fil-A wants to open in the city, the only barriers in the way will be all the red tape.

“If they want to open a store, there’s permitting and they’ve got to find a space and clear it with, I assume, the Buildings Department, the Health Department, get a grade for their food,” he said, hoping that 'd get an 'A.'

Still, he said that customers have every right to weigh in with their wallets.

“You don’t have to shop in a store that you don’t agree with their political views," he said. "That’s up to you.”

A spokesman for Chick-fil-A declined to comment on the potential "future expansion of Chick-fil-A into New York or any other markets."

The comments come less than a week after Bloomberg and other city officials gathered to celebrate the first anniversary of same-sex marriage in the state and announce that it has driven millions of dollars into the city's economy.

“Nobody’s a bigger supporter of same-sex marriage. I just don’t think it’s the government’s business, period," he said. "You should be able to marry whoever you want."

And while the company has become a huge hit across the country, Bloomberg admitted that he'd never tasted one of its famous chicken sandwiches.

“I didn’t even know about ‘em until I read about them in the paper," he confessed.