Chicago Republicans have hit Ald. Proco Joe Moreno with a formal complaint, alleging that the 1st Ward Alderman abused his position when he vowed to block the opening of a Chick-fil-A in his ward because the CEO made anti-gay statements.
The Chicago Republican Party announced the complaint at an Aug. 1 press conference at City Hall.
The complaint, filed with Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the Illinois Department of Human Rights argues that Moreno violated the Illinois Human Rights Act when he promised to deny Chick-fil-A a building permit. Moreno's declaration came in the wake of CEO Dan Cathy's statement that he was "guilty as charged" of opposing same-sex marriage and operated the company of "Biblical" principles.
"Not only has he used his power over zoning to punish someone with whom he disagrees politically," said Chris Cleveland, vice chairman of the Chicago Republican Party. "He has used government power to engage in overt religious discrimination against a person who merely expressed a sincerely held religious belief."
Republicans have also criticized Mayor Emanuel, who backed Moreno, but the Aug. 1 complaint only names the alderman.
The complaint asks Madigan to investigate the matter. A spokesperson for Madigan said her office was not yet commenting on the complaint.
Madigan has been supportive of LGBT causes in the past and recently filed to intervene in support of two lawsuits that seek marriage equality in the state.
Reporters hammered Cleveland and Chicago Republican Party Chairman Adam Robinson on the legal standing of the complaint, stating the complaint addressed Moreno's statements and not his actions.
Cleveland and Robinson said they believe that Moreno's statements are enough to constitute a violation of the act.
"The statement was a criminal action," said Robinson.
But also on hand were representatives from LGBT policy organization The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA).
TCRA executive director Anthony Martinez called the GOP complaint "baseless" and said his organization will file a complaint against Chick-fil-A.
" I don't think it's an issue of free speech," said Martinez. "We're not talking about an individual. We're talking about a corporation… he was speaking on behalf of the company and stated company policy."
TCRA Board President Jacob Meister said the organization will file a complaint alleging that Cathy's statement violated the Illinois Human Rights Act by making LGBT families feel unwelcome in local chains.
The complaints are the latest in a fallout over Cathy's comments, which have ensnared politicians, LGBT activists and religious groups throughout the nation.