Chick-fil-A, the Atlanta-based fast-food restaurant with a history of donating to groups with anti-LGBTQ sentiments, has been effectively banned from the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, largely due to protests over a management group’s plan to bring in the eatery. The move comes just days after the San Antonio City Council banned Chick-fil-A from that city’s airport.
As Buffalo’s WIVB-TV reports, management group Delaware North, which among other efforts manages food and retail concessions in some airports, had announced plans to bring in Chick-fil-A to the Buffalo airport. However, those plans were met with resistance and protests, both from the general public and from some with in Buffalo and New York State governments.
The problem is that Chick-fil-A has, since 2012, been something of a lightning rod for criticism by the LGBTQ community and its allies. That’s because in that year, the company’s evangelical Christian founder made statements against same-sex marriage. Later reporting revealed that the company had been donating money to public advocacy organizations that campaigned against LGBTQ rights; after a controversy erupted over the matter, the company announced that it would no longer donate to such organizations. However, a recent ThinkProgress report revealed that, as recently as 2017, the company was still donating to organizations with anti-LGBTQ sentiments.
That creates a problem for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, the governmental entity that runs the airport. New York State has strict rules regarding “engaging in the practices of discrimination against the LGBT community,” says State Assemblyman Sean Ryan. Delaware North, seeing the writing on the wall, scrapped its plans to bring in Chick-fil-A.
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In the meantime, the management group will be working with the airport authority to decide on what restaurant will go to the spot that would have otherwise gone to Chick-fil-A.
The Buffalo situation almost exactly mirrors a story that played out last week regarding Chick-fil-A and the San Antonio airport, with one major exception. As reported at the time by The Inquisitr, the San Antonio airport was also working with its own management group to bring in food and concessions to the city’s airport — plans that included Chick-fil-A. However, citing the company’s history of anti-LGBTQ donations, a city council member added language into the proposed contract to specifically exclude the chicken eatery; that language was approved by the city council and Chick-fil-A was effectively banned from the San Antonio airport.
The difference between the two cases is that in San Antonio, it was direct government action that kept Chick-fil-A out of the airport, whereas in Buffalo it was a business decision made in advance of possible government intervention.
Buffalo is not completely without Chick-fil-A, however. One location is already open in the city, with another planned to be open soon. As of this writing, there are no efforts to prevent that opening.