I wonder whether longtime Boston Mayor Thomas Menino would have been elected and re-elected if he had announced that he would honor First Amendment rights only for liberal organizations whose ideologies he endorses.
The mayor has engaged in action that is chilling to those of us who believe in free speech, through his threat to make it difficult for fast-food titan Chick-fil-A to operate in Boston. Menino is resistant to the franchise because its president is actively opposed to gay marriage, preferring to strengthen what he considers to be the traditional family.
I am not in Chick-fil-A’s camp. I believe that gay men and women should have the rights that others enjoy, and that civil unions should be the law of the land. I will be darned, though, if I would approve or deny a business the right to operate on the basis of what its leaders believe.
I wonder what Menino would think if a conservative political leader announced a campaign against allowing liberal Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream to enter a locality. I suspect he would be outraged. He cannot have it both ways.
The mayor has no right to be the moral arbiter for Bostonians, all of whom are free to avoid Chick-fil-A restaurants if they choose.
His actions are shameful and frightening, and suggest a stunning lack of knowledge of the foundation of the United States.