SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - Plans to open a Chick-fil-A at San Jose’s Mineta International Airport in June is drawing strong opposition from members of the LGBTQ community.
Some city leaders said the popular franchise in such a public space sends the wrong message to visitors. The Chick-fil-A will greet passengers outside security checkpoints at Terminal B.
“I’m excited,” said Brett Clea visiting from Pennsylvania. “It should be in every airport. It's definitely a worthy restaurant.”
Former Santa Clara County Supervisor and the first openly gay lawmaker in the county Ken Yeager said that while other Chick-fil-A’s are open in San Jose, this Chick-fil-A is different since it’s on city-owned property and funded by taxpayers.
“This is going to be people's first impression of San Jose and what are they going to see is a store that is known for its anti-gay attitudes,” said Yeager.
There has been backlash over the company's long history of charitable contributions and support of Christian groups that oppose LGBTQ rights.
The national debate has intensified in recent weeks. Airports in San Antonio and Buffalo decided against the franchise amid community concerns.
“San Jose is touted as a safe place and to have a Chick-fil-A at the airport is...oh my goodness,” said Gabrielle Antolovich of the Billy DeFrank LGBTQ Community Center.
Last year, the San Jose city council approved a new six-year contract extension with HMS Host, the airport's concessionaire, to include several new offerings including a Chick-fil-A.
The airport sent a statement that said the city has a strict nondiscrimination requirement for contracts and subcontracts. Travelers had mixed reviews.
“There are some people who are very political, there are people who have social, conscientious issues,” said Joe Good visiting from Oregon. “I just like a good sandwich.”
“It’s disappointing to me that San Jose airport has decided to have them here,” said Virginia Shea of San Jose. “It means one less place for me to eat where I would be happy to spend my money.”
Leaders in the LGBTQ community would now like to see rainbow and transgender flags posted at the airport to counteract the Chick-fil-A.
At Tuesday’s city council meeting, the city council refused to extend the concessionaire's contract further for any business that doesn't operate seven days a week including Chick-fil-A. The company is closed on Sundays to let workers spend the day to rest and worship.