New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he strong disagrees with Mayor Thomas Menino's threat to block Chick-fil-A from coming to Boston because the chicken restaurant's executive opposes same sex marriage.
In his weekly radio show Friday, Bloomberg took issue with Menino's stance on the restaurant chain, saying governments should not have a "litmus test'' on "purity of thought" in deciding whether to grant permits. After telling Chick-fil-A's president the chain wasn't welcome in the city, Menino has conceded that he doesn't have the authority to block the chain.
"I disagree with them really strongly on this one,'' Bloomberg said Friday of Menino and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and San Francisco mayor Edwin M. Lee, who have criticized Chick-fil-A.
“You can’t have a test for what the owners’ personal views are before you decide to give a permit to do something in the city,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “You really don’t want to ask political beliefs or religious beliefs before you issue a permit. That’s just not government’s job.”
Bloomberg, himself a strong supporter of same sex marriage, also added that he believes all three are good mayors.
Menino caused a stir last week when he criticized the restaurant chain’s president, Dan Cathy, who told the Baptist Press this month that his company is ‘‘guilty as charged’’ as a supporter of organizations rallying against same-sex marriage.
The company was considering opening a location on Union Street, across the street from City Hall and from Faneuil Hall. After learning about the company leadership’s anti-gay views, Menino issued a letter to Cathy, lambasting the president’s view.
"There is no place for discrimination on Boston's Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it,'' Menino wrote. "It would be an insult to (same sex couples) and to our city's long history of expanding freedom to have a Chick-fil-A across the street from that spot.''
“Originally, I said I would do everything I can to stop them. And that was mostly using the bully pulpit of being mayor of the city and getting public support,” Menino told the Globe on Thursday. “But I didn’t say I would not allow them to go for permits or anything like that. I just said we would do everything we can, bully-pulpit wise.”