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Democratic state legislators in New York are pushing to keep Chick-fil-A out of rest stops in the state because of what they claim are the fast food chain’s donations to anti-LGBT organizations.
Democratic Assembly Member Harry Bronson, who represents the Rochester area, started an online petition to prevent Chick-fil-A from being included among the restaurants being added to rest stops along I-90 in the New York State Thruway Authority’s $450 million service-state modernization project, according to RochesterFirst.com.
Bronson sent a letter last Friday denouncing Chick-fil-A to New York State Thruway Authority Matthew Driscoll.
As 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 it’s business, has a history of donating millions of dollars to organizations that are discriminatory and anti-LGBTQ organizations.”
Bronson says New York has taken great strides to protect the rights of LGBTQ plus New Yorkers — but he’s worried this would be a step in the wrong direction.
“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.”
Bronson says he understands people should be able to choose where they eat, but he believes this situation is different. “It’s on state thruway authority property and they are leasing it, so it’s in essence the state saying, ‘We are going to offer them an opportunity for them to earn millions and millions of dollars,’ even though we know what the history is.”
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
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.
In a statement to Fox News, Chick-fil-A said, “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.”