Antidiscrimination Complaint Filed Against Chick-fil-A

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA) has filed a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights accusing Chick-fil-A of violations of Illinois law, namely the Human Rights Act which prohibits a “public accommodation” from making protected classes “unwelcome, objectionable or unacceptable.” TCRA insists that “this is not a First Amendment issue,” and that “this is about Chick-fil-A having a policy, a corporate culture, which promotes discrimination.”

State or municipal public accommodation laws follow the Civil Rights Act of 1964, enacted to prohibit discrimination of blacks, which states that:

All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination … on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.

A proprietor, who wants to circumvent the Civil Rights Act of 1964, just has to use offensive racial epithets to make his black patrons choose to leave his establishment. Should his speech be protected under the First Amendment?

Rodney A. Smolla points out that it’s the “underlying nonspeech conduct” that is being regulated and that any penalty exacted on speech is incidental. In our proprietor example, his speech has the same effect as the  conduct of refusing service to the black patrons.

However, Eugene Volokh writes that “these ‘it’s not speech, it’s conduct’ doctrines are misguided.” Volokh notes NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co. (1982) where speech, in favor of a boycott of white-owned businesses that constituted the “tort of malicious interference with respondents’ businesses,” was protected speech.

Daniel Koontz proposes a three-pronged test creating a new First Amendment exception:

(1) The proprietor or employee of the public accommodation speaks directly and specifically to a member of a protected class, as opposed to the public at large;

(2) The speech would cause a reasonable member of the protected category to believe that the proprietor did not want to extend to him or her full and equal enjoyment of the accommodation as a result of his or her membership in that protected category; and

(3) The totality of the circumstances indicates that the proprietor’s offensive statements are motivated by a desire to exclude the patron because of the patron’s membership in a protected category.

Clearly Dan Cathy’s comments would not violate any of Koontz’s prongs. Cathy’s personal opinions are far removed from any Chick-fil-A store, the public accommodation, via the company’s franchise arrangement. Any reasonable LGBT individual understands that Cathy’s statements deal with same-sex marriage, not the “full and equal enjoyment” of chicken sandwiches.

TCRA is just milking the Chick-fil-A controversy for its own publicity purposes, and this futile action reflects poorly on their cause.

H/T: VC.

18 thoughts on “Antidiscrimination Complaint Filed Against Chick-fil-A”

  1. “Protected class”? What happened to everyone being equal? Now we have protected classes of people? A persons behavior – such as homosexuality is considered a protected class of people now?

  2. Well Cathy’s comment on gays inviting God’s judgement upon our nation sounds violent and has nothing to do with marriage just the violent wrath against gay people.

  3. Strangely, a suit like this has a better chance than an actual serious suit against people who have done actual seriously wrong things in clearly identifiable and in fact indefensible ways.

    It’s made of the same DREK as the chick-fil-A menu.

  4. Zarathustra, Anonymously Yours

    This is ridiculous. If this suit is legitimate, then I can sue any Gay and Lesbian joint because their views offend me and make me feel unwelcome.

  5. Correct me if i’m wrong (and I know you will!), but to the best of my knowlege, LGTB people are not a protected class, as defined in law. If they are not a protected class, can they sue AS a protected class?

  6. Proof of my being defective:

    “the fact that non-defective people (among whom are all proprietors by definition),”

    was intended to read:

    ‘the fact that non-defective people (among whom are all proprietors by definition) necessarily and properly control my food supply, means that ”

    Surely, if I were not defective, I would never make any mistakes?

  7. I simply love the idea that a proprietor of a business can refuse service to whomsoever the proprietor chooses.

    I happen to have been given an autism-spectrum diagnosis by allegedly competent licensed physicians and/or psychologists.

    As is simple to determine by a brief perusal of the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-IV-TR, autism is a mental disorder and/or a mental defect.

    Defective people, by nature of their being defective, do not qualify for membership in the non-defective group.

    As no defective person is capable of operating a proprietorship successfully, and because of being defective, defective people such as myself are necessarily limited to obtaining what we need to remain alive from proprietors, all of whom are non-defective people, the fact that non-defective people (among whom are all proprietors by definition), the non-defective people are inherently granted free license to eradicate all defectives.

    Ja wohl! Endlich Das Vierte Reich!! Sieg Heil!!!

    Or, did I miss something?

    I live in a rural town in which there is not even one grocery store. The closest town that has a grocery store has only one grocery store.

    If no food proprietor will sell me food, have I any recourse to scratching the paint on a Sheriff’s squad car, so as to be put in jail for the rest of my life, so as to not commit suicide by proprietor?

    I am reminded of a saying of, as I recall, the late Joseph Welch, “Have you no decency, sir? Have you no decency?”

    O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory?

  8. This complaint is totally without merit and should be in the trash. They would have to name Sen. Kerry, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party since both were NOT in favor of gay marriage, though the Democrats look like they will come out in favor of it. I am opposed to gay marriage as well since I can see no rational reason for it and NO benefit to the state in granting it. I am in favor of civil union, so that makes ME a bigot too?

    Using that kind of “reasoning” then a person who is against reparation payments to black Americans would be classed as a bigot. This also is the same kind of thing the segregationists tried to use against the civil rights movement when they launched boycotts against businesses who refused to integrate. This most certainly does penalize free speech. Just ask Oprah about such things.

  9. David,
    While I agree that the owner of Chick fil a is a dirtbag, I do not see this legal action succeeding, nor do I think it is an appropriate use of the IHRA. I think the best medicine for an idiot business owner like this one is to give him the same treatment. Protest and boycott.

  10. Humans have about the same number of human genes as chickens have chicken genes.

    The 2% of our genes that are human don’t compare to the 98% of our genes that are microbial:

    More problematic is the reality that the human genome is still a vast catalogue of the unknown and scarcely known. The Human Genome Project’s most startling finding was that human genes, as currently defined, make up less than 2 percent of all the DNA on the genome, and that the total number of genes is relatively small. Scientists had predicted there might be 80,000 to 140,000 human genes, but the current tally is fewer than 25,000 — as one scientific paper put it, somewhere between that of a chicken and a grape. The remaining 98 percent of our DNA, once dismissed as “junk DNA,” is now taken more seriously. Researchers have focused on introns, in the gaps between the coding segments of genes, which may play a crucial role in regulating gene expression, by switching them on and off in response to environmental stimuli.

    (One Man’s Junk Gene…). Yes, “One hundred and fifty years of biological orthodoxy claimed” that once we knew the human genome we could blah blah blah, but now we know that our behavior changes our genetic makeup, that is, genes do not.

    Now chickens have as much chicken DNA as humans have human DNA.

    Chick-Fil-A politics and genetic science have a lot in common.

    The question remains, what about the 98% of genetic the microbes put within us?

    What makes people want to discriminate against others … is it the human genetic factors, or the 98% microbial genetic material in us we used to call “junk genes”?

    Junk behavior, such as oppressive discrimination, comes from somewhere, so let’s find out where.

  11. I believe the public accommodations part of the civil rights act are wrong. I think the proprietor of any business has a right to discriminate to anybody he wants. Our nanny government wants to control everybody and everything.Discrimination is part of our natural rights. Choosing is another word for discrimination.

  12. boy – they sure have found a way to make chick-filla (less chick more filler) a martyr for the religiously insane. Sales should go through the roof as nutbags refuse to eat at any other slop trough stand. If this was a move by their marketing dept. they deserve huge bonuses. If it is actually the work of well-intentioned people they need a serious cognitive exam

  13. I make better chicken right in my own kitchen. Only ate at Chick-fil-A once, because a friend asked me to. Never will again….

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