Chick-fil-A was once again banned from an airport concession project over the popular fast food chicken chain’s support for groups that hold conservative views on homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
A plan to open a new Chick-fil-A at Buffalo Niagara International Airport was canceled following an outcry from individuals including New York State Assemblyman Sean Ryan.
The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority confirmed last Friday to local media that they had reversed course and that Chick-fil-A will not be part of the food court project any longer.
“A publicly financed facility like the Buffalo Niagara International Airport is not the appropriate venue for a Chick-fil-A restaurant. I applaud the decision that has been made to remove Chick-fil-A from the plans for this project,” stated Ryan last week, as reported by WGRZ.
“We hope in the future the NFTA will make every effort to contract with businesses that adhere to anti-discriminatory policies, and we’re confident another vendor who better represents the values of the Western New York community will replace Chick-fil-A as a part of this project in the very near future.”
In response to the news, the chicken sandwich company released a statement denouncing the “inaccurate narrative” being advanced about them.
“We do not have a political or social agenda or discriminate against any group. More than 145,000 people from different backgrounds and beliefs represent the Chick-fil-A brand,” stated Chick-fil-A, as reported by WGRZ.
“We embrace all people, regardless of religion, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.”
NFTA’s decision about the Buffalo airport came days after city council for San Antonio, Texas, voted 6-4 to remove Chick-fil-A from a project at their airport.
As with the Buffalo airport, the key issue was Chick-fil-A’s connections to conservative Christian nonprofits and CEO Dan Cathy’s stated opposition to same-sex marriage.
Both decisions came after the liberal website Think Progress published an article on March 20 arguing that Chick-fil-A was donating money to anti-LGBT groups.
"Chick-fil-A has taken great pains to downplay its anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and giving, seven years into a national boycott by LGBTQ and allied diners," stated Think Progress.
"But contrary to the company’s latest claims that it has no political or social agenda, newly released tax filings show that, in 2017, the Chick-fil-A Foundation gave more than $1.8 million to a trio of groups with a record of anti-LGBTQ discrimination."
Chick-fil-A released a statement the following day rejecting the claim, pointing out that their donations to groups like the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and others were for charitable purposes.
"To suggest that our efforts in supporting these organizations was focused on suppressing a group of people is misleading and inaccurate," stated the company.
"It is well-known that our Founder S. Truett Cathy used biblical principles to guide our business in its formative stages, and that we still uphold those same principles today."
San Antonio Councilman Roberto Treviño celebrated the earlier vote in San Antonio as an example of the Texas city becoming “a champion of equality and inclusion.”
“San Antonio is a city full of compassion, and we do not have room in our public facilities for a business with a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior,” said Treviño, as reported by NBC News.
For his part, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has stated that he is investigating whether the San Antonio decision constituted discrimination and a violation of the First Amendment.
“The Constitution’s protection of religious liberty is somehow even better than Chick-fil-A’s chicken. Unfortunately, I have serious concerns that both are under assault at the San Antonio airport,” wrote Paxton in an official letter to San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg.
“I have directed my office to open an investigation into whether the City’s action violates state law. I trust the City will fully cooperate with my investigation into this matter, and will abide by relevant federal and state laws in the future."