Among pretty much everyone with a civil libertarian, or just plain libertarian, background, the verdict on the Chick-Fil-A furor is the same: while private persons and groups are within their rights to boycott a business, it’s outrageous and dangerous for government officials to threaten to use regulation to keep the fast-food chain out of their cities because they disapprove of its president’s anti-gay-marriage views. Thus Glenn Greenwald:
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.
If you support what Emanuel is doing here, then you should be equally supportive of a Mayor in Texas or a Governor in Idaho who blocks businesses from opening if they are run by those who support same-sex marriage.
And the ACLU of Illinois (“what the government cannot do is to punish someone for their words. … We believe this is clear cut.”) And Eugene Volokh (“just appalling… a blatant violation of the First Amendment”). And Andrew Sullivan (“If we gays now try to suppress others’ rights, we have become nothing less than what we have opposed for so long.”) And many others rounded up at my Overlawyered posts here and here, as well as those of Stephen Miller at Independent Gay Forum and Tim Carney at the Washington Examiner.
Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit is another who blasts the pols in Chicago and other cities for violating basic principles of the Bill of Rights in this affair. Read his whole short post, but note in particular the following: “I support gay marriage.” If you’re surprised that Reynolds, known as the godfather of conservative blogging, would take that view, don’t be: he’s been on the record on the matter for a long time.
According to a quick Google search, Maryland elected officials appear to have stayed away from the issue. Good for them.
P.S. Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the Instalanche!