A gay-rights advocate says he plans to organize a boycott if Long Island's first Chick-fil-A restaurant is built, because of the company's support of groups that oppose same-sex marriage.
David Kilmnick, chief executive of the Long Island LGBT Services Network, said in an interview on Wednesday that the group is preparing to launch an awareness campaign if a proposed Chick-fil-A opens on Route 347 in Port Jefferson Station. The restaurant is awaiting Brookhaven Town Board approval.
Kilmnick said the campaign, including newspaper advertising and leaflets handed out at the restaurant, would inform potential customers that the Atlanta-based fast-food chain has donated millions of dollars to conservative organizations such as the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family.
"I think most people will not agree with where their money is going, and they will make informed choices not to eat there," said Kilmnick, a Centereach resident.
Chick-fil-A has distanced itself from company president Dan Cathy's comments opposing same-sex marriage.
In a statement emailed Wednesday to Newsday, Chick-fil-A spokeswoman Brenda D. Morrow said the company has donated more than $68 million to more than 700 organizations in the past three years. The statement did not say whether the recipients included groups that oppose gay rights.
"The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect," Morrow said in the email.
During a recent meeting of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association, Chick-fil-A officials told residents the restaurant would not discriminate against gays, lesbians and non-Christians in both hiring and serving, according to several people at the forum.
A majority of civic association members voted to support the restaurant. President Ed Garboski, who supports the eatery, said he would neither endorse nor oppose a boycott.
"That's their right if they want to boycott it," Garboski said. "If you don't like it, you don't have to go there."
The town board has scheduled a public hearing Tuesday on developer KOR's application to build Chick-fil-A and an unidentified restaurant at the site of a former car dealership.
Town spokesman Kevin Molloy declined to comment on a possible boycott. "The town board is looking forward to the public hearing to hear the merits of the application," he said.
Kilmnick said he plans to attend the hearing but does not plan to speak. He said he would not oppose the KOR application, and he hopes to work with restaurant managers "to see what Chick-fil-A can do in our work of fighting bullying and some of the work we need to do."