PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Judging by the cars lined up at this Chick-fil-A’s drive-thru, you wouldn’t think there was much of a controversy, but the company owner’s support for traditional marriage has sparked a reaction by some who think people should boycott the chain.
“Gay couples have the right to have a marriage if that’s what they want,” says Ginny Renegar of Mt. Lebanon.
Renegar, who had just eaten at Chick-fil-A, said she was unaware of the controversy.
“Oh, I didn’t know that. I wouldn’t have been here had I known that,” she told KDKA Money Editor Jon Delano.
Others said they agreed with Chick-fil-A’s Christian values.
“I totally agree with Chick-fil-A and their stand on homosexuality and gay marriage,” says Joseph Scatena of Bethel Park.
But most patrons didn’t think the company owner’s religious views mattered much.
“I think he has freedom of speech like everyone else would and can have his own views on what he believes,” notes Heather Hines of Peters.
“I stand on the liberal side of things and would support the liberal side of things, but I do believe everybody has the right to make their own decision,” adds Maura Callahan of Upper St. Clair.
It’s one thing for individual citizens to decide to boycott or not spend their money at restaurants because they oppose the owners’ religious views.
But it’s quite another for government, for politicians, to get involved, raising all kinds of First Amendment questions of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
While the mayors of Chicago and Boston said they’d try to block Chick-fil-A from expanding in their cities, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl backed away from that stance.
“Whether or not we can say no, or shut down a business permit, obviously there are civil rights issues with that as well,” says the mayor.
The local American Civil Liberties Union says they will side with Chick-fil-A if it came to that and supporters have declared Wednesday, August 1, Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.