UPDATE, 2:30 pm: Kenny and Zuke's owner Ken Gordon makes clear Zukin is no longer affiliated with the deli. This article originally listed him as a co-owner—the accurate designation is co-founder. Gordon further notes he doesn't agree with Zukin's comments.
The Portland-corner of the Internet has been up in arms this week, ever since a video emerged explaining that a soon-to-open market in Sellwood will be operated by a woman, Chauncy Childs, who loudly opposes gay marriage on Facebook (it may lead to pedophilia and bigamy! she says) and doesn't think the government should be able to dictate who she serves.
From the Oregonian's story yesterday:
Childs said she is religious and has a libertarian view that government should not be allowed to dictate whom a business does or doesn’t serve.
“We’re not going to refuse to serve anybody,” she said. “But we believe a private business should have the right to live their conscience.”
Predictably, this set off calls to boycott the soon-to-be-opened market. It's also inspired an interesting discussion about how much a business owner's personal beliefs should affect how we patronize them.
Perhaps the most-vociferous voice in the "business owners are allowed to think how they want" camp: Local restaurateur Nick Zukin, owner of Mi Mero Mole and
co-owner co-founder of Kenny and Zuke's.
The thought police are alive and well in Portland. "Believe as we do or suffer." No effort to persuade, only to punish. Tolerance is dead.
— Nick Zukin (@extramsg) April 4, 2014
And now: Maybe the ol' Portland Boycott Train is swinging in Zukin's direction? Conversation has been lively on Facebook today, after local culture maven Byron Beck took issue with the restaurateur's response. That led to Zukin defending himself in a still-going comment thread, asking individual people why they'll now be boycotting his eateries, and accusing the lot of Portlanders of being no better than Childs if we'd seek to ruin her for not having the same views.
So how far will this go?
Is it time to boycott @extramsg businesses?
— ByronBeck (@ByronBeck) April 4, 2014
It seems crazy to suggest people can't base their consumption on their own ethics. That could involved how products are sourced and how much employees are paid, obviously, but if you're of the opinion that gay rights is the defining civil rights question of our time, this probably rates. Otherwise this very keyboard I'm writing on would be choked beyond repair with sumptuous Chic-fil-A drippings.