State Assemblyman Sean Ryan, a Democrat, expressed disappointment about plans to include Chick-fil-A at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport on Thursday, March 28 in a statement via Twitter.
Paxton also spoke out publicly against the ban, telling KLTV, The City of San Antonios decision to exclude a respected vendor based on the religious beliefs associated with that company and its owners is the opposite of tolerance. The citys discriminatory decision is not only out of step with Texas values, but inconsistent with the Constitution and Texas law.
Chick-fil-A Banished from Buffalo Airport – Another First Amendment Violation
"Chick-fil-A has a long history of supporting and funding anti-LGBTQ organizations," Ryan said. "As a state entity, the [Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority] has a responsibility to avoid doing business with corporations who fund hateful and divisive groups."
"New York is a welcoming state that celebrates diversity," Ryan said. "The views of Chick-fil-A do not represent our state or the Western New York community, and businesses that support discrimination have no place operating in taxpayer-funded public facilities."
First and foremost, the NFTA is an organization that prides itself on its strong commitment to diversity and inclusion and stand firmly against any form of discrimination, the statement said. We have the utmost respect for Assemblyman Ryan and consider him a great partner and friend to us.
Chick-fil-A banned from second airport in less than 2 weeks
The NFTA made a statement to Ryan which he released via Twitter, claiming to be an "organization that prides itself on its strong commitment to diversity and inclusion," and that it stands "firmly against any form of discrimination."
The vendor for the airport food court project, according to Ryan on Friday, March 29, informed him that they have removed Chick-fil-A from the project.
This ban comes less than two weeks after the San Antonio city council approved a new concessions contract for the San Antonio International Airport, but only if plans to open a Chick-fil-A were removed.
"With this decision, the City Council reaffirmed the work our city has done to become 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," Councilman Roberto Treviño said in a March 21 statement. "Everyone has a place here, and everyone should feel welcome when they walk through our airport."
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said March 28 he is opening an investigation into the city's decision. He also requested that Secretary Elaine Chao of the United States Department of Transportation open an investigation into the city’s potential violation of federal law and Transportation Department regulations.
Video: Chick-fil-A dropped from another airport
The decision is the latest setback for the company, which, according to recent tax returns first highlighted by ThinkProgress, continues to donate money to several anti-LGBTQ organizations.
New York Assemblyman Sean Ryan (D) spoke out last week after the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) approved a tentative agreement with its food vendor, Delaware North, to add Chick-fil-A to the airport’s food selection. Ryan said he was “disappointed” by the decision and called out NFTA on social media, urging it to “reverse this decision and identify a different restaurant to operate at the airport.”
On Friday, Ryan announced he’d spoken with Delaware North, which informed him it would not be proceeding with Chick-fil-A. He applauded the decision, stating that “a publicly financed facility like the Buffalo Niagara International Airport is not the appropriate venue for a Chick-fil-A restaurant.”
Chick-fil-A banned from 2 airports within 2 weeks
First and foremost, the NFTA is an organization that prides itself on its strong commitment to diversity and inclusion and stand firmly against any form of discrimination. We have the (utmost) respect for Assemblyman Ryan and consider him a great partner and friend to us. We will reach out to him and discuss his concerns.
“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 Western New York community will replace Chick-fil-A as a part of this project in the very near future,” he added.
ThinkProgress reached out to NFTA for additional comment on the decision but did not hear back by the time of publication.
The City of San Antonios decision to exclude Chick-fil-A based on the religious beliefs associated with the company and its owners is the opposite of tolerance. Its discriminatory, and not only out of step with Texas values, but inconsistent with the Constitution and Texas law. pic.twitter.com/iOk7G9Eltv
Delaware North has not yet commented publicly on the matter and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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Chick-fil-A released a statement on Friday as well, repeating an earlier claim that recent media coverage had driven “an inaccurate narrative about our brand.” The company insisted it has no “political or social agenda,” but did not address the anti-LGBTQ policies of the organizations to which it has consistently given for many years.
As ThinkProgress reported last month, Chick-fil-A donated $1.8 million in 2017 to organizations like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Salvation Army, which have long records of opposing LGBTQ rights. Among other things, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes requires employees to sign a strict “purity pledge,” and has a policy that bars them from any “homosexual acts.”
“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,” Ryan said.
Chick-fil-A also donated that year to the Paul Anderson Youth Home, a Christian residential home for troubled youth, which teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and same-sex marriage is a rage against Jesus Christ and His values. However, the company told ThinkProgress it has since ended charitable contributions to the organization, citing “a blog post from 2010 surfaced that does not meet Chick-fil-As commitment to creating a welcoming environment to all.”
In late March, news of the company’s donations similarly prompted the city of San Antonio to remove a planned Chick-fil-A location from its airport concessions list. The city council voted 6-4 to remove the chain from a seven-year agreement, with Councilman Roberto Treviño explaining that “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.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) responded shortly thereafter, launching an investigation into the city council’s decision, claiming it was “discriminatory” against Chick-fil-A’s religious beliefs and that the decision violated the U.S. Constitution and Texas law.
Paxton, who has a storied history of opposing LGBTQ equality and is an advocate of state sovereignty, claimed the exclusion was “the opposite of tolerance.” He also tweeted a fake ad for the company, posting an image of the chains waffle fries along with the words come and take it.”