Civil rights official cautions NFTA about Chick-Fil-A and airport

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The NFTA is under fire from a top civil rights official over reports Chick-Fil-A has been ruled out from the Buffalo Niagara International Airports’ food concessions.

Peter Kirsanow, of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is accusing the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority of discriminating against the national chicken chain on religious grounds.

The NFTA announced last week, Chick-Fil-A had been tentatively selected as one of the concessionaires to be included in plans for new revamped food services at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

A short time later, State Assemblyman Sean Ryan of Buffalo took umbrage with the Chick-Fil-A option, accusing the company of bias against the LGBT community.

“I am a bit disappointed with the NFTA. They wanted to talk about how they could have them to stay there. But that is really not allowed under our rules.”

Commissioner Kirsanow wrote a letter to NFTA Chair Sister Denise Roche, saying there is no evidence Chick-Fil-A has discriminated against anyone in hiring, or denied service to anyone based on their sexual orientation.

The sole issue, he wrote, is monetary donations from the Chick-Fil-A Foundation that support the traditional understanding of marriage.

Kirsanow urged the NFTA to rescind its ban of Chick-Fil-A, if not Chick-Fil-A would “likely sue the NFTA’s members in their official and personal capacities.”

But NFTA officials point out the decision for selecting or rejecting a would-be concessionaire is in the hands of Delaware North Companies, which was not even mentioned in the letter.

NFTA officials were not able to comment, because they had not received Kirsanow’s letter as of this writing. A Delaware North spokesperson said she had not seen the letter, nor had Assemblyman Ryan.

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