Chick-fil-A is one of the highest-grossing fast-food chains in America, but the LGBTQ movement has found a way to make fried chicken political in a long-waged war against the restaurant for its Christian values, most recently culminating in the chain’s drop from a proposed collection of restaurants at the new Kansas City International Airport in Missouri.
Vantage Airport Group, a vendor working to win the airport contract, announced that it would remove Chick-fil-A from its list of proposed restaurants because the eatery does not promote “an inclusive environment,” local outlet KSHB reported.
“We heard and respect the strong community reaction to the proposed Chick-fil-A participation in the program. We have collectively made the decision to remove this brand from our concessions plan for the new terminal at KCI. Vantage strives to promote an inclusive environment at all our airports. We will work with our partners to find options for its replacement in our concessions proposal,” the vendor told Fox News on Wednesday.
In a tweet, the group specifically cited the LGBTQ Commissions’ opposition to the restaurant in their decision:
Vantage Airport Groups says it will remove Chick-fil-A as a vendor after many groups like @LGBTQCommission opposed it being in the terminal after saying it doesn’t promote an inclusive environment. @KSHB41
— Nick Starling (@NickStarlingTV) September 22, 2021
The Commission wrote a letter last week that highlighted their issues with the chain’s inclusion in the airport terminal.
Among their gripes were Chick-fil-A’s founder donating $5 million to what the commission claims are “anti-LGBTQ initiatives that publicly claimed opposition to LGBTQ+ rights.”
The letter notes that while Chick-fil-A halted its controversial donations in 2019, the CEO’s personal charitable foundation still donates to the National Christian Charitable Foundation– which the LGBTQ Commission inevitably also takes issue with.
“For the past six to eight months we’ve been putting out these inclusivity talking points, about having the most progressive airport in the country, and now we’re throwing Chick-fil-A in there. You know you can’t do both,” said Justin Short, a representative on Kansas City’s LGBTQ Commission.
The airport has reportedly been praised for its gender-neutral bathrooms, private breastfeeding rooms, and adult changing rooms.
The Kansas City Aviation Department announced Vantage Airport Group as its recommendation to run concession operations at the new terminal, and the City Council could formally approve the recommendation as early as Thursday, according to KSHB.
Chick-fil-A has faced scrutiny in the past for its roots in the Christian community from liberals and the LGBTQ community who perceive the affiliation as an anti-LGBTQ+ declaration.
In July, Notre Dame University students petitioned the school to prevent the restaurant from opening an on-campus location, accusing the chain of a “long history of antagonism toward the LGBTQ+ community” and citing its “participation in animal agriculture”.
The campaign was unsuccessful as Chick-fil-A plans to open a location on Notre Dame’s campus this fall.
Chick-fil-A has folded to pressure in the past in an attempt to appease the LGBTQ+ community by pulling back donations from the Fellowship for Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army.
The president and COO of Chick-fil-A Inc. Tim Tassopoulos committed to “donate the most effective organizations in the areas of education, homelessness, and hunger. No organization will be excluded from future consideration – faith based or non-faith-based.”
Last year, the company apologized for an employee shirt from 2015 that read “Back the Blue,” designed to support the local high school football team, after it was perceived to be in support of law enforcement.
However, in 2020 the chain was at the center of a major victory for religious freedom after the city of San Antonio spent more than $300,000 to keep Chick-fil-A out of its airport, citing “a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior.”
The restaurant was ultimately cleared to open a location at the airport when the Federal Aviation Administration overruled local officials following the state GOP attorney general, Ken Paxton’s successful fight against the ban.
“It wasn’t just one restaurant and one airport in San Antonio. If this was allowed to occur, then this could happen all over the country. City councils, or other governmental entities, just could decide they didn’t like your personal views on whatever related to your religious faith, to stop you from having your business. That is a violation of our First Amendment rights,” Paxton stated.
It is unclear whether or not Vantage and the Kansas City International Airport’s decision to drop Chick-fil-A will be fought based on the precedent set in San Antonio.
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