Metro Weekly

Chipotle scoffs at comparing right to discriminate with decision not to offer pork

Lankford, Forbes say business owners need "freedom of conscience rights"

“It’s a pretty ridiculous comparison. Our decision not to serve pork that doesn’t meet our standards isn’t discriminating against any customers or group of customers.”


— Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold, in comments to the Huffington Post responding to statements by U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) that compared Chipotle’s decision to take its pork carnitas off the menu to the rights of business owners to make decisions based on their personal religious beliefs. Chipotle had made the decision after it was revealed that a major supplier was violating animal welfare standards.

In an op-ed in the Washington Examiner on Wednesday, Lankford and Forbes wrote, “It is crucial that the same freedom of conscience enjoyed by the leadership of Chipotle remain equally available to business owners of faith. Indeed, much more so, as freedom of religion is explicitly protected by the First Amendment. We cannot simultaneously laud the leaders of a business motivated by a commitment to environmental sustainability and discriminate against the leaders of a business motivated by religious belief.” While Lankford and Forbes never mentioned LGBT rights specifically, opponents of marriage equality have doubled their efforts to claim so-called “conscience clause” protections to be able to discriminate against LGBT individuals or same-sex couples. Lankford, in particular, has a history of opposing nondiscrimination legislation, including recently introducing a resolution of disapproval to overturn a D.C. Council bill amending a religious exemption in the D.C. Human Rights Act.

Image: Chipotle in D.C.’s Chinatown neighborhood. Image credit: Jo Anna Barber (via Wikimedia Commons).

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