The mayor of New York City is urging residents not to patronize the city’s growing fold of Chick-fil-A restaurants because of what the chain’s CEO said about same-sex marriages four years ago.
"I'm certainly not going to patronize them and I wouldn't urge any other New Yorker to patronize them,” Mayor Bill De Blasio said at a press conference, setting off a firestorm of controversy. He spoke as Chick-fil-A was preparing to open its third New York City branch, in the borough of Queens.
A City Councilman representing part of Queens voiced additional criticism of the chain. “Chick-fil-A is anti-LGBT,” Councilman Danny Dromm said in a statement.
The politicians were reacting to the 2012 comment from CEO Dan Cathy that the chain supported “the biblical definition of the family unit.” Cathy, whose father, Truett Cathy, founded the chain, is also an owner of Chick-fil-A.
News reports indicated at the time that the company was donating money and food to conservative groups that opposed same-sex marriages.
Chick-fil-A later backtracked, saying it supported diversity among its customers and labor force.
“What the ownership of Chick-fil-A has said is wrong,” De Blasio said at the press conference. But he acknowledged that the business had a right to operate in New York City regardless of its social or political views.
Local media quoted a Chick-fil-A statement as saying the chain has a policy and tradition of serving “every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”