New York, NY – Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan) sent the letter below to the New York State Thruway Authority denouncing the newly released plan to bring Chick-fil-A restaurants to service areas along the New York State Thruway and urging the agency to reconsider its decision. The fast food chain has long been criticized for its support of and contributions to known anti-LGBTQ+ organizations.
“Bigotry and discrimination are not New York State values. New York State has long worked to advance LGBTQ+ rights, but inviting a restaurant that is committed to blocking equality to open on state property will undermine our continuing efforts toward true equality,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “With so many other options, the last thing our service areas need is a restaurant serving up chicken sandwiches with a heaping side of bigotry.”
Though Chick-fil-A has previously stated that it would stop making donations to anti-LGBTQ+ groups, that has not been the case. According to a recent report by ThinkProgress, the company donated $115,000 to the Salvation Army and $1.65 million to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes as recently as 2018, among many others. The founder of Chick-fil-a, S. Truett Cathy, has a long and well-documented track record of anti-gay sentiment. Cathy has publicly stated that he believes that marriage should be between a man and woman, as ordained by God, and has been quoted as saying he personally believes in the "biblical definition of marriage."
“Chick-fil-A is a notorious opponent of LGBTQ+ equality and has donated millions to organizations that worked to block marriage equality and continue to support measures to recriminalize homosexuality and preserve brutal conversion therapy,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “These donations are actively causing harm to the LGBTQ+ community.”
The Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that 40% of LGBTQ+ youth had ‘seriously considered’ suicide within the previous year, a clear indication of the harm that results from anti-LGBTQ+ policies and rhetoric. Furthermore, a 2020 FBI Hate Crimes Report described an increase in violence toward LGBTQ+ people.
"The New York State Thruway should not be in the business of empowering homophobes and giving a platform to anti-gay or trans rhetoric. Doing so makes our state less safe for our LGBTQ+ friends, family and neighbors," said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal.