After spending much of the past week speaking out on gun control in the wake of the Colorado massacre, Mayor Bloomberg waded into another hot-button national controversy Friday, this one having to do with a popular fast-food restaurant. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on his radio show Friday that he was opposed to banning Chick-fil-A in New York City.
“This is just a bad idea and it’s not going to happen in New York City," he said.
Dan Cathy, the president of southern-based fast-food chicken restaurant, is an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage.
"I think we're inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, you know, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes marriage,"' Cathy said on "The Ken Coleman Show" on June 16.
Comments like those have sparked a public backlash. Some public officials across the country, like Boston Mayor Thomas Manino, made it clear that the chain isn't welcome in their city.
“I don’t believe a company that speaks out against gay rights in our country today should have the opportunity to operate in the city of Boston,” he said.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel also spoke out, saying that “Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago values.”
Both mayors are friends and often political allies of Mayor Bloomberg, who is an outspoken gay-rights advocate. Nonetheless, Bloomberg said his fellow mayors are wrong on this one.
“You really don’t want to ask political beliefs or religious beliefs before you issue a permit," he said. "That’s just not government’s job.”
That puts the mayor in agreement with the same civil liberties advocates he recently attacked for opposing the police department's stop-and-frisk policy.
“I don’t agree with the ACLU on a lot of things but in this case, they happen to be right," he said. "It’s people’s freedoms.”
“We appreciate that the mayor appears to have gone out of his way to note an agreement with the ACLU on something," said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. "So we hope he doesn’t hold grudges.”
Mayor Bloomberg says he’s never tried Chick-fil-A but that the company’s free to do business here in the city. In fact, the chain already operates out of a food court at NYU. A petition to oust the chain from campus has gathered more than 15,000 signatures but the Student Senators Council voted down a ban last year, citing free expression.