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Menino's Letter To Chick-fil-A President Fuels National Debate

BOSTON (CBS) - It appears Mayor Tom Menino has really started something.

His letter to the president of the restaurant chain Chick-fil-A opposing it opening a store in the city has helped fuel a national controversy.

Menino says Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy's stand against same-sex marriage represents prejudice and that having a branch across from City Hall would be an insult.

"It sends a strong message that the habit of supporting hateful organizations that demonize LGBT Americans are out of step with not just Bostonians but a majority of fair-minded Americans," Menino told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Thursday.

The mayor's letter, posted on the city's Facebook page, has received more than 124,000 likes.

In it he said,"There is no place for discrimination on Boston's Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it."

So what about other companies doing business in Boston?

"Are there other companies? There might be, but their president, their ownership doesn't speak out as loudly as this individual (Dan Cathy) has. We can make all kinds of excuses, but it's no excuse when you discriminate against other folks," Menino said.

There has been no comment from Cathy yet on Menino's letter.

However, Chick-fil-A did respond to the controversy with this post on their Facebook page on July 19:

The Chick-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. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 Restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.

The mayor hasn't heard if the company will continue with plans to open in Boston.

"If they're going to hurt people's rights and social justice is involved. I'm going to speak up on that. No matter what it is. You might not like it, but I have to live with myself," he said.

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