Walter Olson and Josh Barro are gay libertarians. Adam Serwer and Glenn Greenwald are liberals. All support gay marriage. They do not agree with Chick-Fil-A President Dan Cathy on gay marriage.
But all four of these writers, and many others, have stood up and said that the city governments in Boston and Chicago are out of bounds in threatening to use government power to punish Chick-Fil-A for its president’s views.
Serwer writes in Mother Jones:
Menino and Moreno have it wrong. Blocking construction of Chick-fil-a restaurants over Cathy’s views is a violation of Cathy’s First Amendment rights. Boston and Chicago have no more right to stop construction of Chick-fil-As based on an executive’s anti-gay views than New York City would have had the right to block construction of an Islamic community center blocks away from Ground Zero.
Greenwald writes at Salon:
having Mayors and other officials punish businesses for the political and social views of their executives — regardless of what those views are — is as pure a violation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech as it gets, and beyond that, is genuinely dangerous.
Barro writes at Bloomberg:
This isn’t just bad policy; it’s unconstitutional. Local governments generally have broad discretion over zoning, but they cannot use it to violate the constitutional rights of landowners. You can block a project because you think it’s too big but not because the developer is black, wants to build a Mosque or opposes gay marriage.
Walter Olson writes at Overlawyered:
In a free country you can’t keep out a restaurant because you dislike its owner’s politics…
So, Kudos to all of these gay-marriage supporters (and more, I am sure), standing up for the liberty to speak out, even when that speech is something they don’t like. We need more of that.