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Moreno vows to use 'aldermanic privilege' to keep Chick-fil-A out of his ward

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno doesn't want a Chick-fil-A restaurant to open in his ward.

Moreno's move to block the fast-food franchise comes after the Chick-fil-A owner said he was opposed to gay marriage.

"When we look at zoning and we look at having businesses in our ward we have to look at whether they're responsible actors. And responsibility means not being discriminatory," Ald. Moreno said.

Should the personal opinions of a company owner affect that owner's right to do business in Chicago? City aldermen are divided on the question, but Moreno has some support from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

"Chick-fil-A's values are not Chicago values. They're not respectful of our residents, our neighbors or our family members," Mayor Emanuel said.

Chick-fil-A's owner Dan Cathy -- a Christian who takes pride in his 1,600-restaurant chain's family values and its refusal to open on Sundays -- was quoted in a religious magazine saying he opposed gay marriage.

There's already a Gold Coast Chick-fil-A in downtown's 42nd Ward. The firm has applied for a second city outlet in Logan Square where Moreno vows to use his "aldermanic privilege" to refuse the company's needed permits.

"I will defend an alderman saying this is what's best for my neighborhood and I want you to respect that," Ald. Danny Solis, zoning committee chairman, said.

But the 42 ward's Brendan Reilly-- who supports gay marriage-- says there are limits to stopping a business based on what the owner believes:

"Zoning and business development I think should be done generally in a vacuum. If it's a solid business model, these folks should be given a chance to compete in the Chicago Market," Ald. Brendan Reilly, 42nd Ward, said.

Meanwhile other aldermen from the high-unemployment west side would love a taste of Chick-fil-A in their wards.

"Yes, if it produced jobs. And then if there was another business that they believe in gay marriage and wanted to locate in my Ward, I'd put 'em right next door to 'em," Ald. Michael Chandler, 24 Ward, said.

"We want to welcome them to our community. If Chick-fil-A wants to move a little further south, a little further west, God bless 'em," Ald. Jason Ervin, 28 Ward, said.

Chick-fil-A officials have not responded to ABC7's request for comment on its application to open a second store in Chicago.

Alderman Moreno wants the company to repudiate the owner's gay marriage stance. The bigger Chicago problem for Chick-fil-A could be mayor's involvement. His influence goes well beyond the first ward.

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