(/sites/default/files/uploads/2012/08/71522030.gif)The Chicago Republicans filed a formal complaint with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office along with the Illinois Attorney General’s office following Chicago Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno’s declaration that he intended to deny a permit to a proposed Chick-fil-A in his ward because the chief executive officer of the company, Dan Cathy, recently publicly proclaimed his support for traditional marriage.
Moreno said that gay marriage was the defining civil rights issue of our time and proclaimed that Cathy’s stance amounts to a form of homophobia and discrimination.
According to Chicago Republican Party Vice President Chris Cleveland, Moreno’s public statements amount to an abuse of power and violate the First Amendment.
“The complaint asks that the Attorney General Investigate Alderman Joe Moreno for abusing the power of his office and engaging in direct and overt religious discrimination against Chick Fil A.”
The Chairman of the Republican Party in Chicago said that the issue is not one of marriage but free speech and religious liberty.
“This not a marriage issue. It’s a free speech issue,” said Adam Robinson, the Chairman of the Chicago Republican Party.
Cleveland echoed those sentiments.
“This is a basic legal issue. It’s a Constitutional issue. It’s a free speech issue,” said Cleveland of their complaint.
Suzanne Devane, a Republican Committeeman from the 49th Ward, said that this latest salvo against Chick-fil-A was part of a larger war on religious liberty.
“First, we had the Obama administration saying they would refuse to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act, a law duly enacted by the United States Congress. Next, we had the Department of Health and Human Services mandate in which the government is telling employers that must offer insurance coverage for their employees where they should pay for medications and procedures that violate their religious beliefs. Now, we have a company whose founder believes in the Judeo-Christian tradition of marriage told by the City of Chicago that you can’t open a second location here.”
Because of the complicated nature of Chicago and Illinois politics, the formal complaint is not likely to get much traction in the largely Democratic state. Chris Cleveland stated that the Chicago Republican Party is looking at avenues for federal court if this fails.
Alderman Moreno is not backing down. In an email statement, his Director Legislative Affairs and Communications, Matthew Bailey, said the Alderman is moving forward.
“We will not back down in fighting for equal rights.”
His office was backed up by the Civil Rights Agenda, the leading advocacy group for Lesbians, Gays, Transexuals and Bisexuals in Illinois. In a statement, their office said that Cathy’s statement wasn’t merely an exercise of free speech but rather a form a discrimination against the LGBT community.
“The Illinois Human Rights Act makes it illegal for restaurants and other public accomodations, such as Chick Fil A, to treat minorities as ‘unwelcome, objectionable or unacceptable.’ Chick Fil A is perpetuating the message that gay and lesbian families are inferior to heterosexual families.”
Chick-fil-A has pushed back hard against this idea since the controversy broke nationally. The corporation has maintained that it doesn’t discriminate against anyone, and everyone is welcome to eat and work in their restaurants.
The announcement came on the day that supporters all over the country lined up at Chick-fil-A’s in a show of solidarity.
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