Case in point: Chick-Fil-A is being blocked from opening a new location by a Chicago alderman displeased with Chick-Fil-A's owner's stance against gay marriage. (article)
Let me make clear, I myself am not against gay marriage, but I am against anything that prevents ideas from being expressed and debated. And that even includes hate speech and other distasteful expressions. I wouldn't even call opposing gay marriage as hate speech per se, even if it is wrongheaded.
I am against anything which is demonstrably slanderous. I am also against the government using its tools to silence unpopular views or views which run contrary to policy.
In my opinion, I think Chick-Fil-A made a very poor business move by expressing their opinions on gay marriage. You are a chicken place-- keep your political opinions to yourself!
I am definitely a supporter of gay marriage; however, I disagree with some cities' attempts to block Chik-Fil-A from opening new locations. I heard rumor of Boston doing this as well.
My solution? Why not let the restaurant open and then organize a boycott? Let the business waste that money building a new location and allow them to run themselves into the ground. That's a way better move, in my opinion. It's also more fun to watch.
I don't know if it was a poor business move. Across the entire United States, there is a roughly 50/50 split on support for same-sex marriage (according to Gallup). Many brands have made public support campaigns in favour of gay rights. Such action probably has little effect on people with luke warm opinions on gay rights, but probably does have some impact on those who are strongly polarized. The current trend seems to sweep in favour of pro-LGBT mindsets, so many companies will go in that direction.
Perhaps that leaves a niche open for those that cater more to the opposite pole, which still consists of millions of people.
That is not to suggest it's all about the money, but I have to imagine a four billion dollar company isn't so whimsical to flush profit down the drain just to make clumsy public statements on a pet social issue. Not a certainly. Just a likelihood from my perspective.
edit: Maybe I am wrong about that last point.
I was not so committed to financial success that I was willing to abandon my principles and priorities. One of the most visible examples of this is our decision to close on Sunday. Our decision to close on Sunday was our way of honoring God and of directing our attention to things that mattered more than our business.
Based on this report, I think it is unethical to block the business. As long as Chick-fil-A is not unduly discriminatory in the service it provides or it its hiring practices, Chick-fil-A's stance on social issues or the organizations it legally supports are no business of the government. If Chick-fil-A commits to nondiscriminatory business practices, that should be sufficient.
Personally, I am staunchly pro-LGBT rights, but if I had to enforce my views (nearly) unilaterally by exercising governmental privilege, I'd consider my cause a failure.
I feel weird saying "Chick-fil-A's stance", but I can't be more specific as I'm not entirely sure how this ideal is fostered within the brand and how the funds flow to these various pro-Christian and "pro-family" groups.
It is possible that there are franchise owners who completely disagree with the parent company's stance.
If it were just an issue of free speech, I would agree with you, but it isn't. chick-fil-A actually funds anti-gay organisations and as such is guilty of discrimination. In this case I think the mayors of towns banning them are quite correct to do so. It's not their views that caused this, it's their actions. Big difference.
Anti-gay organizations are themselves exercising free speech, though, aren't they? The expression was by one man, the president/CEO of the organization. It is his opinion and not the policy of his organization. In an attempt to hurt him for exercising his own free speech, who does it really hurt? It hurts the people who won't have a job, and no one has ever accused CFA of discriminating illegally in its hiring practices.
No. These organistions aren't just promoting a message, they're actively trying to enact legislation to take away people's rights and that should never be tolerated.
As far as jobs are concerned, the absence of a chick-fil-a restaurant just creates a void that could be filled by another company thereby creating different jobs. I seriously doubt it was a "chick-fil-a or nothing" type of situation.
Freedom of speech isn't just for the speech you approve of.
You seem to have missed my point. It's not the speech they're being banned for, it's their actions - at least as far as I've understood the situation.
In my opinion they can say whatever they like, no matter how bigoted (in fact, the more bigoted the better in a PR sense in that it makes them look even more clownish), but once they put their money where their mouth is, all bets are off.
Their actions are still within the limits of the law. Why does a private company not have the right to donate to legally established organizations that operate within the law? It isn't a conflict of interest issue.
I grew up thinking it was the fascists who wanted to limit and punish free expression, who didn't believe that the free expression of ideas would result in a guaranteed win for The Truth. I've come to discover that the left can be as bad as the right in this regard.
This is why I dislike when people use the term 'liberal' synonymously with 'left' when talking about politics. In certain cases, views on the right are more liberal than those on the left.