Chick-fil-A is no stranger to controversy, especially on the east coast. Over the years, the chain has taken on a number of prominent East Coast politicians, many of whom have tried to block entry to their home state. Mayors of New York and Boston, Bill de Blasio and Thomas Boy, both had a run-in with Chick-fil-A in the mid-2000s.
Now, the brand is again tangling with East Coasters, this time adding its locations to 27 service areas along the New York State Thruway, part of a $450 million state-run renovation plan. In a recent letter sent by the Maroon burgerNew York State Councilman Harry Bronson has called on the New York Thruway Authority to revoke the construction contracts awarded to Chick-fil-A.
Like other politicians before him, Bronson objects to Chick-fil-A’s presence in New York based on the company’s history of supporting anti-LGBTQ+ causes. In his letter he quoted Chick-fil-A’s “[record] against the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and families,” and asked the Thruway Authority to reconsider the inclusion of Chick-fil-A in its plans, arguing that the company’s New York presence “[send] a message to LGBTQ+ individuals and families who: [the Thruway] does not share the same commitment to their civil rights as New York State.”
Chick-fil-A responded with a statement of its own, claiming it had no political or social goals other than homelessness, education and hunger charities. In addition, it was dedicated to “welcome”[ing] everyone” in its restaurants, as reported by the New York Post.
The brand first came under scrutiny in 2012, when CEO Dan Cathy went on record in support of “the biblical definition of the family unit.” Following his statement, Cathy donated millions to conservative activist groups and opponents of same-sex marriage legislation, and while Chick-fil-A has since attempted to recast itself as roughly apolitical, more involved in philanthropy than politics, the association with Cathy’s controversial stance has never been forgotten.
For its part, The New York Thruway has expressed no intention of terminating Chick-fil-A’s contract, but has confirmed that it will hold all restaurant brands involved in the development project to the same “inclusive and non-discriminatory standards.” embracing New York State of York.” Whatever comes out of the contract, it’s worth noting that Chick-fil-A already operates multiple locations in upstate New York. The flagship store in New York City, which is five stories high, is the largest Chick-fil-A location in the world.
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