Two New Jersey town officials have told the state turnpike authority they don’t want Chick-fil-A to open a location along the Garden State Parkway even after the restaurant chain has worked to debunk the narrative that alleges they are “anti-LGBTQ.”
The stigma seems to follow Chick-fil-A years after the company denounced those claims, saying they’ve been based on “misleading” news reports.
NJ.com reports Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia criticized the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, demanding the agency reconsider a decision to open a Chick-fil-A restaurant in the soon-to-be reconstructed Brookdale South service area on the Garden State Parkway. Venezia said he may ask state legislators for help blocking the chicken restaurant.
Authority officials previously announced that McDonald’s restaurants at two different locations on the turnpike would be torn down and replaced with a newly constructed Chick-fil-A at Brookdale in Bloomfield Township and a Shake Shack at Vauxhall in Union Township.
Venezia and Bloomfield Councilman Rich Rockwell, who is gay, both condemned the decision, pointing to the Chick-fil-A CEO’s traditional marriage comments from almost 10 years ago and its past support for allegedly anti-LGBTQ lawmakers and organizations.
“This announcement by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to allow Chick-fil-A to open a restaurant at a Bloomfield rest stop is incredibly disappointing. Bloomfield is a diverse community accepting of all races, religions, and sexual orientations, which is the antithesis of what this chain stands for,” Venezia claimed.
“I just can’t feel comfortable eating, giving money to someone who’s opposing my rights,” Rockwell told News 12 The Bronx. “For that to be on a publicly funded, state agency highway, that seems inappropriate to me.”
The news outlet reported it’s unclear exactly what the town officials can do to prevent the new Chick-fil-A location since the restaurant’s contract is with the food service company that oversees most of the restaurants along the turnpike and not with the authority.
A spokesperson for the authority said in a statement, “The Turnpike Authority expects that anyone doing business in its service areas will treat all patrons with respect and will abide by the standards of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.”
CBN News has reached out to Chick-fil-A officials for comment. We will publish their response as soon as we hear back.
Chick-fil-A announced more than two years ago that it would no longer award grants to Christian groups like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army after activists falsely labeled them “anti-LGBTQ.” Still, new openings of restaurant locations have been met with similar protests by LGBTQ activists in Canada and the U.S.
In response, Chick-fil-A has said they welcome everyone to their restaurants. As CBN’s Faithwire reported in 2019 when the San Antonio City Council voted against letting the Atlanta-based firm open a concession at the city’s airport, a company spokesperson responded to the council’s decision, citing the restaurant’s “code of conduct,” which promotes actual tolerance:
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
The reference is of course to the Golden Rule found in the Bible, like in Luke 6:31.
“The 140,000 people who serve customers in our restaurants on a daily basis represent and embrace all people, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity,” the spokesperson said, according to Fox News. “Our intent is to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.”
As CBN News reported, in September of 2020, an agreement was worked out between the City of San Antonio and the Federal Aviation Administration to offer Chick-fil-A a lease at the airport, which the company turned down.