NEW YORK CITY — Mayor Michael Bloomberg has never eaten at a Chick-Fil-A, but he reiterated his support Friday for the chicken chain's lone outpost in the city despite its president's controversial stance on same-sex marriage.
Chick-fil-A's President Dan Cathy has said he defines marriage as being solely between a man and a woman, and that he prayed 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.” The chain is popular around the South and has made charitable donations to anti-gay groups.
The backlash against Cathy’s comments and Chick-fil-A led some of Bloomberg’s fellow mayors — Boston’s Tom Menino and Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel among them — to publicly criticize Cathy and suggest that Chick-fil-A not open new stores in their cities.
“In America, under the Constitution, [government] shouldn’t be run where we have a litmus test for the personal views of somebody when they want to do something in the commercial world,” Bloomberg said during his weekly radio address on The John Gambling Show. “It’s not the government’s business and we will not do that here in New York City.”
Bloomberg, who said last week the company is welcome in New York, spoke ahead of a "National Same-Sex Kiss-In Day," which was supposed to take place outside the city’s lone restaurant in New York University’s Weinstein Residence Hall at 5 University Pl. at 8 p.m.
The Chick-fil-A spot, however, has been closed for the summer and will open Aug. 26.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is openly gay and a potential mayoral contender, sent a letter to NYU President John Sexton on Saturday imploring the university to ditch the chicken joint. She also started an online petition to drum up support.
“As long as they don’t break any laws and government, the City Council included, should not be out there criticizing,” Bloomberg said. “All that says to other companies that might want to locate here is, ‘What do I need that aggravation for? Who knows if they turn on me?’”
The kiss-in at the closed NYU Chick-fil-A is slated for Friday 8 p.m. The organizer, Rome Frost, told ABC the rally is a show of support for the gay community and “how we can solve these kinds of problems in a very nonviolent and romantic way."