Va. governor on Chick-Fil-A clash: ‘I love chicken’

Paul D. Shinkman,

WASHINGTON – The governor of Virginia became the latest politician to offer his perspective on a controversy that could banish Chick-Fil-A from jurisdictions nationwide.

When asked about the backlash stemming from the fast food restaurant’s public opposition to gay marriage, Gov. Bob McDonnell said, “I love chicken.”

Following a pause, the governor continued: “If we start having governments issue permits or zoning changes, or withholding those because of someone’s political or religious beliefs, we are going down a very bad road.”

“I think people have an ability to start and grow a business regardless of their political beliefs,” he said, while speaking on WTOP’s “Ask the Governor” program.

Check out our live blog and hear the full audio of the show here.

Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy angered supporters of gay marriage with a statement saying his company was “guilty as charged,” for supporting “the biblical definition of a family.”

His comments prompted criticism from San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, who said the restaurant is no longer welcome in their cities.

An alderman in Chicago has proposed a measure that would ban the expansion of the restaurant if the owners do not issue a clear anti- discrimination statement.

On Friday, D.C. Mayor Vince Gray referred to the company’s product as “hate chicken” in a tweet, and said he would not endorse the expansion of Chick-Fil-A in the District.

He said he has a “longstanding strong support for LGBT rights and marriage equality.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who supports gay marriage, says his fellow mayors overreached with their reaction.

It is inappropriate “to look at somebody’s political views and decide whether or not they can live in the city, or operate a business in the city, or work for somebody in the city,” he said in his weekly radio show on WOR.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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