10:52 am Aug. 6, 2012
One of the scuffles that has reportedly cooled Speaker Christine Quinn's relationship with Mayor Michael Bloomberg was her demand last week that New York University evict the only Chick-fil-A restaurant in the city on account of its owners' opposition to gay marriage.
The public denunciations of the fast food chain sparked conservatives to rally around the restaurant on August 1, declaring it Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, which helped the company set a company-high sales record.
A Page Six cartoon lampooned Quinn for inadvertently bolstering Chick-fil-A's coffers.
The New York location is currently closed for renovations, and neither Quinn's legislative nor campaign spokespeople have responded to an email asking whether her criticism backfired.
While the dispute put Quinn at odds with Bloomberg, who dismissed such calls as "inappropriate," her support for Chick-fil-A wasn't a surprise to the local business community.
"I don’t think the business community is paying much attention," Kathy Wylde, the president and CEO of the Partnership for NYC, wrote in an email to me. "Chris represents a Council District where LGBT issues are very much top of mind, so it is not surprising she spoke out on behalf of her constituents. I would guess she did not put this through a Mayoral Candidate filter, but defending gay rights will not hurt her in a Democratic primary."
Others were more supportive of the speaker, praising her for her outspokenness on a key, civil rights issue. Melissa Sklarz, the president of Stonewall Democrats, the city's largest LGBTQ Democratic club, wrote in an email to me: "I think Chris Quinn is a wonderful advocate for LGBT New Yorkers and I think a privately owned company like Chick-fil-A is making a terrible mistake using company earnings to denigrate LGBT people and their families." She went on to say, "My opinion is LGBT people and their allies should not embrace companies that work so hard to deny people their basic American civil rights."