It’s not just the billboard painting cows who are going after Chick-fil-A now…Democratic state legislators in New York are trying to keep the popular chain out of rest stops. They are doing this because of what they claim is the fast-food chain’s donations to anti-LGBT organizations.
Harry Bronson, a Democratic Assembly Member who represents the Rochester area, began an online petition to keep Chick-fil-A from being included among the restaurants being added to rest stops along I-90. There is a brand new $450 million modernization project in the New York State Thruway Authority, according to RochesterFirst.com.
Bronson sent a letter at the end of last week denouncing Chick-fil-A to New York State Thruway Authority Matthew Driscoll.
RochesterFirst.com reported: “Bronson is one of four lawmakers saying no to [Chick-fil-A] at state rest stops. Chick-fil-A, through the charitable wing of its business, has a history of donating millions of dollars to organizations that are discriminatory and anti-LGBTQ organizations.”
Bronson also said that New York has taken great strides to protect the rights of LGBTQ plus New Yorkers and that he is worried this would be a step in the wrong direction.
In Bonson’s own words, “We can’t say through those laws and through those policy positions and statements, that we support the dignity and human rights of LGBTQ individuals and their families and at the same time, have a state authority that’s willing to enter into a 30-year-lease with a business that has a history of not recognizing the human rights of LGBTQ individuals.”
The Rochester Assembly Member indicated that he believes people have the right to eat wherever they want, but in his mind this situation is different. He doesn’t want the restaurant to be located on state thruway authority property. He doesn’t want the state to enter a lease with the restaurant and by doing so enable them to earn millions and millions of dollars because of their history.
Chick-fil-A has received criticism 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 Thruway Authority responded in a statement:
“The New York State Thruway Authority, its Board of Directors, and staff support an inclusive environment that treats the tens of millions of people that travel our system with dignity and respect. Our private partner in the Service Area redevelopment project, Empire State Thruway Partners, explored a selection of restaurants and finalized agreements with specific brands to operate at the redeveloped service areas to enhance and improve the travel experience for our customers. There are no state taxpayer dollars or toll payer funds supporting the redevelopment of the Thruway’s 27 service areas. 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.”
Chick-fil-A said in a statement to Fox News, “We want to be clear that 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.”
Sen Lindsey Graham (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.