Martin Bashir | July 27, 2012
>>> with everything going on in the world today, you might think rick santorum would have better things to do than lose his head over the controversy surrounding chik-fil-a and gay marriage . but you'd be mistaken about that. just take a listen.
>> keep seeing this more and more, which is the absolute intolerance of the left in america. there can be no defense.
>> people on both sides have been hopping mad ever since dan kathy, the ceo of chik-fil-a condemned gay marriage . so mad that one alderman in chicago threatened this week to block the construction of a new chik-fil-a restaurant in his district. he joins us right now, alderman joe moreno who represents the people of the first ward in the chicago city council , sorry. alderman, thank you very much for being with us. we want to talk about the issue in your district.
>> thank you.
>> but first.
>> we have just heard some very sad news coming from chik-fil-a. the company's long-time public relations head don perry died suddenly this morning, reportedly from a heart attack. of course, our thoughts and prayers are with his family and prendes right now. is there anything you would like to say in response to this news?
>> well, of course our thoughts and prayers are with that. i didn't know the gentleman. but any time a tragedy like that happens, whether it's in my ward or in the city of chicago or not, our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family.
>> now getting back to the controversy in your district, do you agree with me that it's possible even for people who support gay marriage to be against you on this because of free speech ?
>> well, i think it's not about -- it's not a free speech issue. i would agree that everyone has the right to speak and believe what they want to believe and speak what they want to believe where. rick santorum is dead wrong though is that just because someone is intolerant and i don't accept their intolerance doesn't mean that i'm being intolerant. that's a very naive and young argument.
>> but ultimately -- you do agree, though, that the chik-fil-a ceo does have a right to express his own viewpoints?
>> absolutely. that's not what this is about. and i'm not going to allow them to frame it that way. this is about if that belief system transcends into policies that discriminate against those that are lgbt community . and just recently they put a statement out, a day or two after the president made his statements saying that they would no longer have these policies, that they open up to everyone. if that facebook message is a policy that they're willing to put into their employee handbook and it's part of their culture, then i think we've made a great stride in chik-fil-a's policies. and i would be more open to having them at the table and in my ward and in my community. but prior to that, i was very, very concerned that the belief systems , they were so strong, and they used the word "we" so much that thousand that was going to transcend to discriminating against lesbian and gay folks.
>> we read this morning there may be a chance of you backing off the threat to block the chill fillet in your district. any truth to that?
>> well, i'm not going to back off my principles. i've been working with them for eight or nine months and the principles of the community. in those eight or nine months, from the day one had voiced my concern behind the scenes , not in public, about the potential of them having these anti- -- these discriminatory policies. and we've been working on that, making small stearns not big steps. if we make those steps, of course, i would want them to embrace anti-discriminatory policy and move forward and accept anyone to work there or to eat there. based not only on their sexual orientation , but race, creed, color, et cetera . if they're willing to raise that, i'm not going to sit here and say no to chik-fil-a because the ceo believes something. again, it's if the beliefs turn into policies that are discriminatory.
>> so how has it been going in terms of conversations between chik-fil-a and the city and you and your district?
>> right. so it was going, you know, slow but well prior to this week. i would submit, and this is just my thought that they're probably waiting for this to settle to come back and discuss with me and the community, maybe clear up some things that they need to clear up. and maybe revisit their mission statement and their employee handbook . unfortunately, the tragedy of executive passing away suddenly i'm sure is going to -- they're going to need some time. and i'm willing to give them that time. but what i'm not willing to do and what the immunity is not willing to do is have a company that embraces policies that are going to discriminate against lesbian and gay folks. it's a human rights and civil rights issue of our time. and we've never had those in our history, civil rights and human rights have never progressed without being in the front, not in the back.
>> one more question on this. other city officials, boston mayor tom menino has backed off from telling chik-fil-a they're not welcome there. bloomberg of new york says it's none of the government's business in the first place. do you think these guys are wrong?
>> well, if they're talking about it's none of the government's business if a company has policies that discriminate against people, yeah, i do think they're wrong. but if they're talking it's none of the government's business to try to craft free speech or try to change someone's belief system , i think they're right. that's what it is for me and my ward and my neighborhood.
>> chik-fil-a says then, you can see the statement there on the screen. it says that chik-fil-a culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.
>> right. so that's the message i was talking about that they posted on their facebook . i mean that just happened within the last four or five day, maybe a week.
>> that's a good thing, isn't it?
>> yeah, it's a good thing. as i said, jonathan, that's a good step forward . and i'll repeat myself. if that's something that is not a facebook message post, a one day trying to do damage control, i believe. if that's something that is is really going to be in place and they're willing to back that up, i think we've made great strides from when we started talking eight or nine months ago.
>> alderman joe moreno, thank you very much for being with us.