Some left-wing lawmakers in New York are seeking to prevent Chick-fil-A from operating along the state’s highways because of the franchise owners’ stated religious belief in traditional marriage.
The Atlanta-based restaurant chain is one of the food outlets that were awarded contracts from the New York State Thruway Authority as part of a $450 million plan to renovate 27 highway service areas.
The franchise, founded by S. Truett Cathy and now run by his son Dan Cathy, was targeted by left-wing LGBT activists in 2019 for donating to conservative and Christian organizations the activists deemed opposed to their cause.
The New York Post reported on the lawmakers’ efforts:
Assemblyman Harry Bronson, a Rochester-area Democrat, sent a letter to Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew Driscoll asking him to “re-examine the list of approved concessions” for the rest stops because of Chick-fil-A’s past support of anti-LGBTQ groups, according to the Auburn Citizen. Bronson and two other legislators who signed the letter — Deborah Glick and Danny O’Donnell — are openly gay, according to the report.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also tried to ban Chick-fil-A from the city over Cathy’s stance. His efforts flopped and the Big Apple is now the home of the world’s largest Chick-fil-A.
Chick-fil-A disputed that it currently has a political agenda, pointing to a 2019 announcement in which it pledged support to just three causes: education, homelessness and hunger.
“Chick-fil-A is excited about the partnership and the opportunity to further serve the residents of New York,” the company said in a statement. “We want to be clear that Chick-fil-A does not have a political or social agenda, and we welcome everyone in our restaurants.”
Democrat Assembly member Linda Rosenthal said in a statement:
Bigotry and discrimination are not New York state values. New York state has long worked to advance LGBTQ+ rights, but inviting a restaurant that is committed to blocking equality to open on state property will undermine our continuing efforts toward true equality.
The Thruway Authority referred in a statement to an “inclusive environment that treats the tens of millions of people that travel our system with dignity and respect,” adding that taxpayer and toll payers money is not being used for the project. The agenccy said:
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.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) expressed support for Chick-fil-A on Twitter, saying he hopes “this threat is all bluster from left-wing New York politicians.”
I hope 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. https://t.co/ejW0O1isFF
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) July 13, 2021
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