The New Jersey Turnpike Authority announced the proposal of a Chick-fil-A outpost situated along the Garden State Parkway. Following the proposal, Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia and Councilman Rich Rockwell released a joint statement expressing disapproval of the proposal, pointing out that the chain has come under fire for being discriminatory against the LGBTQ+ community for a long time.
The chain is closed on Sundays due to the Christian beliefs of the founder and brand leaders. Recent backlash in July of 2021 addressed CEO Dan Cathy’s donations to a Christian charity that is said to have ties to a group of individuals fighting the Equality Act and other LGBTQ+ rights. The donations on behalf of the chain have been made public over the years, however, Cathy claimed to cease donations to such organizations following a statement that he does not support same-sex marriage, as seen in the Business Insider.
The statement read, “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,” said Mayor Michael Venezia. “Chick-fil-A has a long, documented history of opposing same-sex marriage and supporting anti-LGBTQ legislators and organizations. I implore the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to reconsider this decision and to instead choose a restaurant that is more in line with our values.”
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Councilman Rockwell, an openly gay local government official continued, “Throughout its existence, Chick-fil-A has used its vast financial success to influence and support policies that are discriminatory to the LGBTQ community,” said Councilman Rich Rockwell. “Chick-fil-A imposes its religion on employees, customers, and operators and as a publicly funded entity, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority should not allow this type of business on the Parkway. This restaurant chain would be an affront to all of the citizens of Bloomfield that make up the tremendous diversity that makes our town such a great place to live.”
As reported on Baristanet, Montclair Councilman Peter Yacobellis, also an openly gay local government official echoed their disapproval, stating, “The New Jersey Turnpike Authority should know better than to welcome a company with a 0% score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index into our welcoming and inclusive region. This is a really disappointing decision that I hope will get reversed,” said Councilman Yacobellis.
It is unsure at the moment whether or not the proposal to open a Chick-fil-A will come to fruition, but we will keep you updated as more details unfold.