A New York state lawmaker is looking to keep Chick-fil-A restaurants out of state rest stops, saying the company has a long history of opposition to LGBTQ rights.
New York’s Thruway Authority announced that along with its $450 million modernization project it would be adding new restaurants, including Chick-fil-A, to state rest stops.
Assemblyman Harry Bronson and other state Democrats have come out against the move, saying the company is not inclusive enough.
“While the Thruway Authority’s agreement is directly with the Irish firm Applegreen, the vendors in their portfolio includes Chick-fil-A, a company with a long and sorry past of supporting discrimination toward LGBTQ+ individuals and their families,” Bronson said in a Tuesday statement to The Hill.
“Considering Chick-fil-A’s action against the LGBTQ+ community we are asking the Authority to remove this company from the portfolio of businesses,” he added.
Chick-fil-A has received pushback for years for donating to groups that opponents say enforce anti-gay or anti-trans policies, including the Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“The request is simple, we are asking the Thruway Authority to re-examine the list of approved vendors for these rest spots. Considering Chick-fil-A’s action against the LGBTQ+ community we are asking the Authority to remove this company from the portfolio of businesses,” Bronson said.
The state lawmaker has started an online petition against the move and says he will talk to the executive director of the Thruway Authority about the issue.
A spokesperson for the Thruway Authority told The Hill in a statement the agency supports an inclusive environment and no state taxpayer dollars or toll payer fees were used for the deal.
“Every restaurant brand included by Empire State Thruway Partners has a contractual responsibility, and is legally required, under New York State law, including the New York State Human Rights Law and Executive Orders, to adhere to the inclusive and non-discriminatory standards that New York State embraces,” the spokesperson said.
A Chick-fil-A spokesperson told The Hill in a statement they are excited to partner with Thruway Authorities.
“Chick-fil-A does not have a political or social agenda, and we welcome everyone in our restaurants. We are proud to be represented by more than 200,000 diverse team members nationwide, and we strive to be a positive influence in our local communities,” the spokesperson stated.
“We do this, in part, by contributing $25,000 to food banks in each community where we open a new restaurant, and donating more than 10 million meals through our Shared Table program,” the company added.
Sen Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead Biden move to tap oil reserves draws GOP pushback MORE (R-S.C.) took to Twitter to support Chick-fil-A in response to the news, saying he hopes “this threat is all bluster from left-wing New York politicians.”
“If such a disastrous move ever came about – banning a commercial business due to them exercising their First Amendment rights – it would set a horrible precedent,” he added.
It would also be ferociously opposed by many Members of Congress, including me.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) July 13, 2021
Updated at 5:40 p.m.