Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is warning New York lawmakers that they shouldn’t infringe upon the rights of businesses such as Chick-fil-A.
Last week, Graham threatened to start a “war” as the New York State Assembly filed legislation that would require all locations of the business that are located at rest stops to be open seven days a week. Chick-fil-A has a long-standing policy that they are closed on all Sundays, for religious reasons.
He renewed those calls this week while traveling to New York in person. He said that if New York’s legislature were to move forward with their proposal, he would introduce one of his own in the U.S. Senate that would withhold funds from any state or city that requires a Chick-fil-A to operate on a Sunday.
On Wednesday, he was asked about New York’s proposed bill while appearing on the “Fox & Friends program.” He commented:
“Well, if you can have a Satan club in high school, surely [Chick-fil-A] can close on Sunday, because they believe it’s the Lord’s Day.”
He then spoke directly to Dan Cathy, the chairman of Chick-fil-A, and the staff at the business when he said:
“Stand your ground. I’ve got your back. It’s illegal what they’re trying to do.
“The idea that the state of New York is going to make a company change its policies it’s had from its founding – they want to have one day off for their employees to recognize the Lord, and they can do it. And to the people in New York who are pushing this: You’re in for one hell of a fight.”
The bill that the Legislature in New York filed in early December would require every food vendor that operates at a rest stop that the New York State Thruway Authority owns to be open for every day. It even goes as far as naming Chick-fil-A as the reason why the bill is being proposed.
The sponsors of the bill tried to justify the reasoning by writing:
“While there is nothing objectionable about a fast food restaurant closing on a particular day of the week, service areas dedicated to travelers is an inappropriate place for such a restaurant. Publicly owned service areas should use their space to maximally benefit the public.
“Allowing for retail space to go unused one seventh of the week or more is a disservice and unnecessary inconvenience to travelers who rely on these service areas.”
It’s an odd stance to take, as it almost sounds as though Chick-fil-A is the only business that’s located in these rest stops. That, of course, isn’t true. There are plenty of other eateries that travelers can choose from if they want to stop – even though they may be disappointed that they can’t get a classic chicken sandwich.
Chick-fil-A is unlikely to back down or change its stance, as it’s been closed on Sundays since the business first opened back in 1946.
Right now, Chick-fil-A has seven restaurants that are located in rest stops that are owned by the Thruway Authority.