Assemblyman Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo, protested the plans, citing controversy about the fast food chain and the support by some company officials for organizations opposing same-sex marriage.
Ryan said earlier this spring that a public accommodation like the Buffalo airport, administered by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, should not host a company that he said had demonstrated bias.
Federal investigation launched into San Antonios airport Chick-Fil-A ban
“The Department of Transportation has received complaints alleging discrimination by two airport operators against a private company due to the expression of the owners religious beliefs. FAAs Office of Civil Rights has notified the San Antonio International Airport (SAT) and Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF) that it has opened investigations into these complaints.
“The FAA notes that federal requirements prohibit airport operators from excluding persons on the basis of religious creed from participating in airport activities that receive or benefit from FAA grant funding. The findings of the investigations will be communicated to the complainants once the investigations are completed.”
Feds investigate airports for religious discrimination after banning Chick-fil-A
The FAA statement does not cite Delaware Norths decision to drop Chick-fil-A but its clear the investigation is focusing on that because the statement also cites an investigation into a second airport where plans to open a Chick-fil-A were also quashed, according to a report in The Hill. Officials overseeing San Antonio International Airport also halted plans for a Chick-fil-A earlier this year because of concerns that the restaurant chain has intolerant views of the LGBTQ community.
Chick-fil-A has denied any bias and claims some media coverage drives an inaccurate narrative about the company, which has been criticized because people associated with it have opposed same sex marriage.
Recent coverage about Chick-fil-A continues to drive an inaccurate narrative about our brand. 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. We embrace all people, regardless of religion, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.
NFTA spokeswoman Helen Tederous said she could not confirm that the NFTA, which operates the Buffalo airport, has been notified of the investigation, but she pointed out that it was Delaware Norths decision “not to move forward with Chick-Fil-A … not the NFTA.”
Video: FAA now looking into San Antonios controversial Chick-Fil-A-SAT decision
A Delaware North official said Saturday he would attempt to provide The News with a statement regarding the FAA investigation. Delaware North has provided concessions at the Cheektowaga airport since 1952
A story in The Hill cited the San Antonio City Councils vote to block a Chick-fil-A from that citys airport. The story cited the companys anti-LGBTQ donations and history.
The Chick-fil-A restaurant in Buffalo Niagara International Airport was booted after leftist Democrat Assemblyman Sean Ryan urged hospitality company Delaware North and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to deny the restaurant a place in the terminal.
The Texas Legislature has advanced a bill to prevent the government from penalizing businesses for exercising their religious rights.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating two airports — San Antonio International and Buffalo Niagara International — over religious discrimination complaints, following the exclusion of Chick-fil-a from the premises, Fox News confirmed on Friday.
"The Department of Transportation has received complaints alleging discrimination by two airport operators against a private company due to the expression of the owner’s religious beliefs," the agency said in a statement provided to Fox News.
According to the agency, federally funded airports cannot discriminate on the basis of religion. "The FAA notes that federal requirements prohibit airport operators from excluding persons on the basis of religious creed from participating in airport activities that receive or benefit from FAA grant funding," it said.
Chick-fil-a has faced nationwide backlash over its decision to direct charitable contributions towards organizations opposing same-sex unions — prompting public officials and others to denounce the popular fast-food chain, which has been accused of harboring anti-LGBT views.
Save Chick-fil-A bill headed to TX gov.s desk
When San Antonio's city council narrowly rejected the inclusion of Chick-fil-a at its airport, it cited the restaurant's “legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior." Buffalo Niagara International similarly excluded Chick-fil-a amid pressure from a Democratic lawmaker who called the business an "anti-LGBTQ corporation."
First Liberty, a law firm that fights for religious freedom, sent Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao a complaint about the issue in March — accusing San Antonio of blatant discrimination that disqualified it from receiving federal grants.
He said the donations were really about an authentic problem that is on the ground, that is present and ever present in the lives of many children who cant help themselves.” While the organization has been open about not supporting gay marriage, executives say its donations sponsor youth camps and outreach to low-income youths.
"Federal taxpayers should not be required to subsidize religious bigotry," the firm said in reference to San Antonio's decision.
On Friday, First Liberty Associate Counsel Keisha Russell blasted San Antonio for engaging in "blatant, illegal, religious discrimination." “We are pleased that the FAA responded to our request by opening an investigation into San Antonio for its blatant, illegal religious discrimination against Chick-fil-A," Russell said in a statement provided to Fox News.
"First Liberty also launched our own investigation into the City’s actions and we vow to get to the bottom of San Antonio’s decision. American business owners should not have to suffer because they want to operate their businesses in accordance with their religious beliefs. Few things are more un-American than government hostility against religion.”
Texas' legislature has passed a "Save Chick-fil-a" bill pushing back against the City Council's decision.
"The bill as filed ensures religious beliefs are protected from discrimination. It's about the First Amendment and freedom of speech, freedom of religion — those uniquely American rights," the bill's author said. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign the legislation.
Chick-fil-a responded on Friday, saying it wasn't involved with the investigation and didn't hold any particular social or political stance.
“Chick-fil-A is not involved in this investigation. Recent coverage about our company continues to drive an inaccurate narrative about who we are. We are a restaurant company focused on food and hospitality for all, and we have no social or political stance," the company said in a statement to Fox News.
"We are grateful for all our customers and are glad to serve them at any time. We welcome and embrace all people, regardless of religion, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.”