Gay lawmakers want to prevent Chick-fil-A from opening new restaurants in New York Thruway rest areas as the toll road updates facilities. The group of out legislators sent a letter formally asking that the fast food chain be kept out of the food courts.
The New York State Thruway Authority will spend $450 million to modernize the system to include popular fast food chains but contracts with another company to lease out the concessions.
Chick-fil-A, like the competing chicken chain Popeyes, are approved as potential tenants. Popeye’s, however, doesn’t have the same history of supporting anti-LGBTQ causes.
“After years of millions in donations to organizations hostile to LGBTQ+ rights, the decision to approve @chickfila as an approved concession at our rest stops is concerning to say the least,” state Rep. Harry Bronson (D) tweeted with a copy of the letter.
The missive states that “This move by the Thruway Authority strikes us as sending a message to LGBTQ+ communities that it doesn’t share the same commitment to their civil rights as New York State. We are requesting that you re-examine the list of approved concessions for these rest spots considering Chick-fil-A’s action against the LGBTQ+ community.”
Assemblymembers Deborah Glick (D) and Daniel O’Donnell (D) also signed the letter.
“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,” Jonathan Dougherty, Deputy Director of Media Relations for the Authority, said in response.
“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.”
A similar effort to keep the fast food chain known for supporting homophobic causes out of the San Antonio airport led to months of legal battles before the company decided it would no longer pursue space in the building. The Texas legislature rushed to enact the “Save Chick-fil-A” law that would specifically prevent local authorities from banning the chain based on the company’s “religious beliefs.”
After years of millions in donations to organizations hostile to LGBTQ+ rights, the decision to approve @ChickfilA as an approved concession at our rest stops is concerning to say the least.
— Harry B. Bronson (@HarryBBronson) July 10, 2021