Democratic mayors of Chicago and Boston have recently taken the position that they would, if they could, deny business permits to Chick-fil-A restaurants because the owner, Dan Cathy, is a conservative Christian who believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman, and who therefore donates money to promote traditional marriage and to argue against legalizing gay marriage. As readers of the Regular Guy may know, gay marriage does not make it very far up the list of things I get exercised about; it's not an issue that I'm ready to go the mattresses about. To me, when there are 70% of black children being born out-of-wedlock, and a smaller, but growing percentage of white children, the institution of marriage has greater problems than just two dudes wanting to have a pretend wedding. And, frankly, my nearly universal experience of gay colleagues and friends and neighbors is that they are decent normal friendly people. It's hard to demonize them, and I won't.
That being said, these Democratic mayors have taken a bizarre position, essentially saying that it is beyond the bounds of decent society for businessmen who happen to be Christians to espouse beliefs about marriage that, until very recently, were held by nearly everyone, and, until a month or so ago, were the stated position of the Democratic President of the United States, Barack Obama. Does Rahm Emanuel really want to pursue the logical end of his argument -- that, for instance, the Catholic Church does not represent "Chicago values," and should be run out of town on a rail? I doubt it. And, to go further, when will Emanuel speak out against the rampant homophobia of the Nation of Islam and Louis Farrakhan? Not very soon, I'll wager. Most bluntly: was Barack Obama in May 2012 someone who didn't represent "Chicago values" because of his position against gay marriage? And, did Rahm Emanuel speak out against his former boss then? If not, why not?
It is one thing to be on one side of a 50-50 argument about an issue, and to say that the other side is wrong. It is entirely another thing, and bizarre, to be on one side of a 50-50 argument and to say that the other side has no right to even speak. That's not what America is all about.
But then, the modern Democratic Party under Barack Obama has stood foresquare against so many traditional American values -- free enterprise, for instance -- that nothing surprises me anymore.