ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Some New York legislators are pushing back against including Chick-fil-A in newly updated service areas along the Thruway.

Rochester-area Assemblymember Harry Bronson requested that the New York State Thruway Authority reconsider due to Chick-fil-A’s history of anti-LGBTQ sentiment. He is among three gay Assemblymembers who urged the Thruway to leave the fried chicken restaurant out of its $450 million service-station modernization project.

“This move by the Thruway Authority strikes us as sending a message to LGBTQ+ communities that it doesn’t share the same commitment to their civil rights as New York State,” Bronson stated in a letter sent Friday. “We are requesting that you re-examine the list of approved concessions for these rest spots considering Chick-fil-A’s action against the LGBTQ+ community.”

The letter to the Thruway was signed by Bronson and Manhattan Assemblymembers Deborah Glick and Daniel O’Donnell. The three openly gay legislators questioned the decision with an overview of the company’s history opposing the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and families.

A version of the letter is also available in a format allowing New Yorkers to add their signatures and get involved.

In response, the Thruway Authority released the following statement:

“The New York State Thruway Authority, its Board of Directors, and staff support an inclusive environment that treats the tens of millions of people that travel our system with dignity and respect. Our private partner in the Service Area redevelopment project, Empire State Thruway Partners, explored a selection of restaurants and finalized agreements with specific brands to operate at the redeveloped service areas to enhance and improve the travel experience for our customers. There are no state taxpayer dollars or toll payer funds supporting the redevelopment of the Thruway’s 27 service areas. Every restaurant brand included by Empire State Thruway Partners has a contractual responsibility, and is legally required, under New York State law, including the New York State Human Rights Law and Executive Orders, to adhere to the inclusive and non-discriminatory standards that New York State embraces.”

Jonathan Dougherty
Deputy Director of Media Relations and Communications
NYS Thruway Authority

Construction of the redevelopment project to renovate all 27 service stations along the New York State Thruway will begin July 29. The project’s focus is a new food concept, offering customers products and meals from nationally recognized restaurants—such as Popeyes, Panera, and Chick-fil-A. The first phase of renovations will close 10 service areas on July 29.

Take a look at the letter below: