NY Civil Liberties Union Slams Airport for Banning Chick-fil-A: Remember the ‘First Amendment’?

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) is clapping back at one of the state’s airports that banned the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A due to the company’s support of “anti-LGBTQ groups.”

Democratic New York state Assemblymember Sean Ryan urged the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) to ban Chick-fil-A from the airport because “we can’t allow companies who support anti-LGBTQ groups to do business at state owned facilities.”

The New York assemblymember then applauded the NFTA’s removal of Chick-fil-A from the airport’s food court plan.

“A publicly financed facility like the Buffalo Niagara International Airport is not the appropriate venue for a Chick-fil-A restaurant,” Ryan wrote in a statement. “I applaud the decision that has been made to remove Chick-fil-A from the plans for this project.”

He continued:

We hope in the future the NFTA will make every effort to contract with businesses that adhere to anti-discriminatory policies, and we’re confident another vendor who better represents the values of Western New York community will replace Chick-fil-A as a part of this project in the very near future.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

NYCLU’s assistant director for legislative affairs, Erika Lorshbough, swiped back.

“Government actors cannot officially silence speech or take punitive actions based on a person’s or private entity’s political viewpoints,” Lorshbough told Alex Griswold of the Washington Free Beacon.

“The First Amendment does not permit the NFTA to base its contracting decisions on the political views of a vendor,” Lorshbough added.

The New York airport isn’t the only place Chick-fil-A was banned, as San Antonio City Council members voted in late March to ban Chick-fil-A from the San Antonio International Airport due to the companies alleged “legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior.” according to KTSA.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton opened an investigation into the ban because “the City of San Antonio’s decision to exclude a respected vendor based on the religious beliefs associated with that company and its owners is the opposite of tolerance.”

“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,” a Chick-fil-A representative told Fox News in response to the San Antonio airport ban.

“It’s unfortunate that mischaracterizations of our brand have led to decisions like this,” the representative added. “The sole focus of the Chick-fil-A Foundation is to support causes focused on youth and education. We are proud of the positive impact we are making in communities across America and have been transparent about our giving on our web site.”

Correction [4/4/19, 5:14 p.m. ET]: Previously, this story inaccurately quoted Lorshbaugh as stating that the “First Amendment does not permit the NFTA to base its contradicting decisions on the political views of a vendor.” We have corrected the error.


  1. Good on the ACLU for calling this out. Travelers can decide for themselves what companies they want to support. The government shouldn’t push boycotts.

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