| BOSTON, July 26
BOSTON, July 26 Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has
waded into the national controversy surrounding fast food chain
Chick-fil-A, whose president has publicly opposed same-sex
marriage, urging the chicken sandwich sellers to stay out of
Even as the chain took heat from Menino, gay rights
activists and even the Muppets, conservative politicians,
including former Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum,
A letter from Mayor Menino derided Chick-fil-A president Dan
Cathy for recent "prejudiced statements" against same-sex
marriage, which has been legal in Massachusetts since 2004.
Posted on a Boston community page on the social media site
Facebook on Wednesday, the letter has gone viral. It has been
"liked" by more than 131,000 users and shared more than 46,000
"In recent days you said Chick-fil-A opposes same-sex
marriage, and said the generation that supports it has an
'arrogant attitude,'" Menino wrote in the letter, dated July 20
and addressed to Cathy at Chick-fil-A's Atlanta headquarters.
"Now - incredibly - your company says you are backing out of
the same-sex marriage debate. I urge you to back out of your
plans to locate in Boston."
The fast-food company has reportedly been shopping for sites
in downtown Boston, including spots along the city's well-known
Freedom Trail, a pathway that winds past many of the city's
Revolutionary War landmarks, and even within sight of Menino's
City Hall office.
Menino, noting that some of the first same-sex couples to
wed in the country came to the Boston City Hall to get married,
said: "It would be an insult to them and to our city's long
history of expanding freedom, to have a Chick-fil-A across the
street from that spot."
Chick-fil-A did not immediately respond to a request for
comment on Menino's letter or its plans for Boston.
Last week, the chain said its culture is "to treat every
person with honor, dignity and respect - regardless of their
belief, creed, race, sexual orientation or gender."
The Chick-fil-A controversy hit the headlines after Cathy's
comments to the Baptist Press citing "prideful" supporters of
same-sex marriage and defending the company's support of "the
biblical definition of the family unit."
Same-sex couples around the country plan a kiss-in at
Chick-fil-A restaurants on Aug. 3.
The Jim Henson Company, whose Muppet characters like Kermit
the Frog and Miss Piggy are hugely popular, announced it will no
longer work with the chain.
It said it will donate a payment received from a promotion
with Chick-fil-A - which featured "Jim Henson Creature Shop
Puppets" in kids' meals - to the gay rights group GLAAD.
Santorum, known for his opposition to same-sex marriage,
struck back by suggesting a counter-protest.
"Simply have a meal at Chick-fil-A on August 1 for
'Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day' and our support for traditional
values will be heard loud and clear," Santorum, a former U.S.
Senator from Pennsylvania, wrote in an email to supporters.
Privately held Chick-fil-A was founded in 1946 by S. Truett
Cathy, a devout Southern Baptist who is still the company's
chairman. The company is known for its mix of religion and
business as well as its fried chicken sandwiches and waffle
The company's website says that Dan Cathy, the founder's
son, is driven by a "personal passion" to see the fulfillment of
Chick-fil-A's corporate purpose: "To glorify God by being a
faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us."
All of Chick-fil-A's roughly 1,600 locations - including two
outlets in suburban Boston shopping malls - are closed on
Sundays, Christmas and Thanksgiving.