Similar Tactics for Fighting Chick-fil-A and Abortion?
Freddie deBoer makes an observation:
[W]hen local politicians in Boston and Chicago use zoning or licensure or similar to ban Chick-Fil-A, they’re using tactics that conservatives have used for decades in the abortion fight. Not able (yet) to muster sweeping reform at the national level, they have taken to bending the rules and pushing the envelope at the local level, in thousands of discrete steps. Abortion rights, I’m very sorry to say, have been severely curtailed for thousands of American women, despite the fact that Roe is still the law of the land. Pro-life activists have gotten there not through large-scale national legislation or litigation but through a thousand little cuts.
I see the Chick-Fil-A thing as a similar set of tactics: absent widespread reform, you take a few stabs at it in friendly confines peppered across the country.
He concludes by saying, “If you’re a pro-life conservative, you should recognize that your compatriots have opened this door. If you’re a liberal, you should recognize that, when people say that we need to adopt more of conservatism’s methods if we want to win, this is what they’re talking about. For good or for ill.” I see what Freddie’s saying, but there’s a distinction to be made that may amount to a relevant difference.
The mayors of Boston and Chicago overstepped their authority by threatening to bar Chick-fil-A from opening restaurants because of the CEO’s opinions and the company’s political activism. Following through on their fightin words would be a blatant violation of First Amendment rights.
Anti-abortion activists, as of yet unable to overturn Roe and not in any position to prohibit abortion nationally, have made efforts at the local level to eliminate government funding of abortion providers, to close down their centers of operation, and to pass laws limiting the conditions under which abortions can be obtained. From the perspective of the current law of the land, these stabs and cuts curtail a constitutional right, but this perspective is precisely what pro-lifers oppose. They argue that Roe was wrongly decided and that there shouldn’t be any right to abortion. Their tactics (usually) follow the spirit of their philosophy.
As far as I know, no mayor in the United States wants to overturn the First Amendment. The stupidity of Menino and Emmanuel rests on their willingness to sacrifice the fundamental freedom of speech–a right I assume they really believe in–so as to make their respective cities even more gay-friendly and punish a business whose head espouses his belief in a “traditional, biblical” understanding of marriage. These mayors are doing more than taking “a few stabs at” reform “in friendly confines peppered across the country.” They’re doing more than implementing the tactics of the opposition. They’re raising their swords, seemingly ready to conduct a siege of their own castle.