Chick-Fil-A Coming to Buffalo Airport

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Cheektowaga, NY (WBEN) Chick-Fil-A has already opened on Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga, and now there are plans to place the eatery at the Buffalo Airport.

The NFTA Board says Chick-Fil-A will be ready by the fall.

The board says it is looking to place Chick-Fil-A in the food court, replacing lesser performing eateries like Villa Pizza and Checkers with a combination of reputable national and local brands.

There is also a plan for a marketplace concept where Elmwood Food and Drink would replace Which Wich?, Buf Bar and Mattie's. 

New York State Assemblyman Sean Ryan is voicing concern about the NFTA's decision, saying Chick-fil-A has a history of supporting anti-LGBTQ organizations.

Ryan issued the following statement late Thursday:

"I was disappointed to learn of the NFTA's decision to introduce Chick-Fil-A as a restaurant option at the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport. Chick-fil-A has a long history of supporting and funding anti-LGBTQ organizations. In fact, the San Antonio City Council recently rejected a plan to open a Chick-fil-A at the San Antonio International Airport due to the company's discriminatory advocacy. As a state entity, the NFTA has a responsibility to avoid doing business with corporations who fund hateful and divisive groups. I strongly urge the NFTA to reverse this decision.
As you may be aware, New York State currently has a state-funded travel ban in place for travel to North Carolina due to a law allowing for transgender discrimination that is on the books until 2020. Recently, several SUNY swimmers were unable to stay in North Carolina for the DIII championship because of this travel ban. It sends the wrong message to allow a state entity to do business with an anti-LGBTQ corporation when our SUNY system worked to remain in compliance with the travel ban.  All of our state agencies and entities need to be held to a higher standard."
Meanwhile, in a related story, Texas' attorney general opened an investigation Thursday into San Antonio's decision to exclude Chick-fil-A from opening airport concession facilities due to the fast-food chain owners' record on LGBT issues.

Attorney General Ken Paxton announced the investigation in a letter to San Antonio officials and stated his office will examine whether Texas' second-largest city violated state law with the rejection. Paxton called the move "the opposite of tolerance" and a "discriminatory decision" based on the religious beliefs of the chain's owners.

"The Constitution's protection of religious liberty is somehow even better than Chick-fil-A's chicken," Paxton said in the letter. "Unfortunately, I have serious concerns that both are under assault at the San Antonio airport."

The attorney general's action comes after the San Antonio City Council voted 6-4 last week to block Chick-fil-A from getting a new concession contract at the airport. The councilmembers voted instead for city staff to find another company for the contract.

"The City's Attorney's Office is reviewing the letter. I am withholding comment until we have had adequate time to analyze it," San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said in an emailed statement.

Councilman Manny Pelaez said at the meeting that Chick-fil-A has a history of funding anti-LGBTQ organizations that support and advocate for gay conversion therapy. Pelaez said approving the restaurant would "help them fund those efforts by making money off of our airport."

Paxton also told San Antonio officials he asked Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to investigate whether the city's actions violated federal law and regulations prohibiting religious discrimination by federal grant recipients. Paxton has made religious freedom battles a focus of his office since being elected in 2014.

The Atlanta-based fast-food chain has faced opposition elsewhere over donating millions over the years to groups that oppose same-sex marriage. In 2012, the company's chief operating officer criticized same-sex marriage, prompting some politicians to block the chain from expanding in certain areas.

Earlier this month, a dean at Rider University in New Jersey resigned over the school's decision to not consider bringing Chick-fil-A to campus because of its opposition to the LGBT community.