The New Jersey Turnpike Authority announced plans in early January to potentially open a Chick-fil-A and a Starbucks in the Bloomfield Brookdale South rest stop located off the Garden State Parkway. The two new restaurants would be replacing the McDonald's that's currently there.
Just weeks later, a petition to ban Chick-fil-A from opening any new stores in the state of New Jersey is gaining significant traction.
The petition states that the Chick-fil-A company has a long standing history of supporting political candidates and organizations that actively oppose and undermine the civil rights and equality for all New Jersey citizens. The petition also goes on to state that Chick-fil-A imposes it's religion on employees, customers, and operators and as a publicly funded entity the New Jersey Turnpike Authority should not allow a business like this to operate on the Parkway.
Within the past decade, Chick-fil-A has been called out numerous times for their donations to religious and anti-LGBTQ organizations. This past Summer, New York state officials called for a block to stop the fast food chain from opening restaurants on their state Thruways. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also tried to ban Chick-fil-A from opening in the city. His efforts failed and the Big Apple is now the home of the world’s largest Chick-fil-A.
Bloomfield mayor, Michael J. Venezia, has made a public statement regarding his stance on the matter. It reads as follows: “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, 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.”
Chick-fil-A announced back in 2019 that instead of donating to religious organizations that support anti-LGBTQ politics, they would instead focus on donating to educational, homelessness, and hunger organizations. However in recent news it's been discovered that owner Dan Cathy has still been donating large amounts of money to an organization that is spearheading the derailment of the Equality Act. The organization is called the National Christian Charitable Foundation, and its structure allows for donors to have a hefty say in where their funds go.