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New York Lawmaker Introduces Controversial Bill Affecting Religious-Owned Establishments
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On December 17, a New York Democratic lawmaker, Tony Simone, brought forth a bill that, in the guise of ensuring public benefit, could impact the operations of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian-owned establishments along the state’s rest stop thruways.

Simone’s proposed legislation, named the Rest Stop Restaurant Act, seeks to mandate that food and beverage companies contracted by New York State to serve along the interstate must operate seven days a week. However, the underlying motive appears to be a targeted effort to close down the nine Chick-fil-A outlets operating in rest stops across the Empire State.

The Rest Stop Restaurant Act’s Controversial Stance

The bill contends that publicly owned service areas should maximize their space to benefit the public entirely. It states that leaving retail spaces unused for one-seventh of the week or more inconveniences travelers. This argument, however, overlooks a critical detail—the rest stops are not taxpayer-funded but rather a result of a $450 million private partnership with no expense to New York drivers or taxpayers.

  
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The Chick-fil-A Target: Religious Freedom Under Fire

Simone’s singular focus on Chick-fil-A raises questions about the bill’s true intent. The owners of Chick-fil-A are known Christian conservatives who differ from Simone’s party, particularly on issues like gay marriage. While politically motivated, this targeted approach has broader implications—it jeopardizes a fundamental tenet of the progressive tradition: religious freedom.

The Unintended Consequences: A Blow to Diversity

While Simone’s aim may be to impact Chick-fil-A, the bill, if passed, would inadvertently affect a broader spectrum of religiously owned establishments, including Jewish delis and halal restaurants across New York interstates. In essence, it emerges as an act of pure bigotry.

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The Political Fallout: Contradicting Progressive Values

Simone’s endeavor to shut down Chick-fil-A reflects a misguided political choice and stands as an assault on religious freedom. The Democratic Party, which historically champions progressive values, risks alienating its constituents by supporting such initiatives.

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A Challenge to New York’s Diversity

Surprisingly, a lawmaker from a region with significant Jewish and Muslim populations would advocate for a policy curtailing their economic participation. Simone’s proposal, rooted in reactionary virtue signaling, seems to ignore the potential negative consequences for religiously diverse communities.

Democratic Leadership and Religious Freedom

President Joe Biden, a devout Catholic and a staunch supporter of the International Religious Freedom Act during his time as a U.S. senator has demonstrated the Democratic Party’s commitment to religious freedom. However, Simone’s bill contradicts these values and threatens the party’s standing in America’s heartland.

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