Four New York state legislators wrote open letters urging Chick-fil-A to be excluded from the state’s rest stop options. This was in response to the company’s history of donating to anti-LGBTQ groups.
The New York Thruway Authority, which oversees the state’s highway system, made a deal last year with Empire State Thruway Partners. This agreement allows Applegreen to lease the rest stops for a period of 30 years. Applegreen must spend hundreds of millions of dollars on reconstruction, improvements, and renovations. Empire State Thruway Partners is responsible for the rent and can retain most of the profits from businesses located at rest stops.
Last Wednesday, the Thruway Authority announced that Chick-fil-A, Popeyes and Shake Shack will be among the rest stops that have been reopened.
“New York State has long stood on the right side of history and supported the LGBTQ+ community, but this decision flies in the face of our progressive values and will undermine the progress we have worked to achieve,” Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, a Democrat who represents Manhattan, wrote last Thursday in a letter addressed to Thruway Executive Director Matthew Driscoll and the chair of the group’s board of directors, Joanne Mahoney.
“The New York State Thruway Authority, a public-benefit corporation, must immediately drop all plans to allow Chick-fil-A to operate on New York State property,” she added.
“Discrimination and bigotry have no place in New York State,” Rosenthal said. “Donations made by Chick-fil-A and its Chief Executive Officer continue to support efforts that are causing harm to LGBTQ+ people nationwide.”
Rosenthal’s letter was accompanied by a second letter from three openly gay state legislators. It was written by Assemblymembers Harry Bronson and Deborah Gluck of Manhattan. This second letter states that Chick-fil A’s decision to block Chickfil-A will show LGBTQ+ family members that the state Thruway Authority doesn’t share the same commitment as New York State to civil rights.
He added, “We are requesting that you re-examine the list of approved concessions for these restaurants considering Chick-fil-A’s action against the LGBTQ+ community.”
Chick-fil A stated to the USA Today Network New York that it does not have any political or social agenda and that all are welcome in its restaurants. We are proud to have more than 180,000 Team Members across the country and strive to make a positive impact in our local communities.