‘A step backward’: LGBTQ Commission asks city leaders to reconsider airport Chick-fil-A

·3 min read

Kansas City’s LGBTQ Commission issued a letter to the city on Monday asking that it remove Chick-fil-A from the currently recommended winning proposal for the new airport concessions.

LGBTQ advocates in the city say including Chick-fil-A would go against advancements Kansas City has made.

Last week, officials unveiled Vantage Airport Group as the recommended winning bidder for the lucrative deal to run concessions at the city’s new $1.5 billion terminal.

Vantage will invest $65 million to develop new stores, restaurants and bars. Officials with the company said 80% of the businesses in the airport would be locally inspired.

The LGBTQ Commission issued a letter to the city on Monday urging the committee remove Chick-fil-A from the current proposal due to the company’s past donations to anti-LGBTQ organizations.

“If this proposal was to pass in its current form, this would be a step in the wrong direction for Kansas City,” the commission wrote.

Justice Horn, vice chair of the commission, said Kansas City has seen “so much advancement and visibility and empowerment in the LGBTQ+ community in the last year especially.” But adding a Chick-fil-A to the airport, he said, would “be a step backward in our community.”

Horn also said that the Chick-fil-A would block out a local business from having that spot in the airport.

Justin Short, another of the commissioners, said that to him it doesn’t make since from a business point of view to have a restaurant closed on one of the heaviest airport traffic days — Chick-fil-A, due to the Christian foundation of founder Truett Cathy, closes all locations on Sundays.

“When we talk about inclusive places, throwing a Chick-fil-A in there just doesn’t seem to match,” Short said.

He also pointed to the concerns over Northland representation, suggesting instead of the Chick-fil-A, that they highlight a Northland business.

Council members Heather Hall and Teresa Loar raised concerns about the lack of Northland representation in Vantage’s proposal.

“This airport is north of the river. There’s nothing about north of the river here. I mean we live up there, the four of us do,” Loar said in reference to the council’s four Northland members during Thursday’s business session. “There was no mention of living north or what we represent or anything else.”

Commissioners want to see the proposed Chick-fil-A removed before the council considers moving forward with the concessions bid.

The proposal will be heard in the Transportation, Infrastructure and Operations Committee at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Council members will be able to ask questions before deciding to accept, change or deny the proposal.

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