Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the San Antonio City Council yesterday (June 3) for public records involved in the council’s decision to exclude Chick-fil-A from an airport concessions contract.
The council excluded the chain in March expressly because of behavior Councilman Roberto Treviño described as “anti-LGBTQ,” based on Chick-fil-A’s financial donations to nonprofits including the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“Chick-fil-A’s leadership is well-known for their personal belief in the Christian faith and traditional understanding of marriage,” Paxton said in a press release announcing his suit. “Members of the City Council who spearheaded the decision to exclude Chick-fil-A did not attempt to hide their discriminatory motives: one branded the company out of line with ‘our core values as a city.’ Yet another council member denounced Chick-fil-A as a ‘symbol of hate.'”
Paxton’s suit is part of an investigation he opened on the City of San Antonio after its March council vote. The Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Civil Rights is also investigating the city, the FAA announced May 24, along with a similar decision against Chick-fil-A by the Buffalo Niagara International Airport in Buffalo, N.Y.
“The FAA notes that Federal requirements prohibit airport operators from excluding persons on the basis of religious creed from participating in airport activities that receive or benefit from FAA grant funding,” the FAA told the Atlanta Business Chronicle. “The findings of the investigations will be communicated to the complainants once the investigations are completed.”
The FAA launched the investigation at the request of religious liberty advocate First Liberty Institute, which is also investigating the city. First Liberty described San Antonio’s actions as “blatant, illegal religious discrimination against Chick-fil-A.
“American business owners should not have to suffer because they want to operate their businesses in accordance with their religious beliefs,” First Liberty Associate Counsel Keisha Russell said in a press statement. “Few things are more un-American than government hostility against religion.”
The suit comes days before San Antonio’s June 8 mayoral runoff between Councilman Greg Brockhouse, who has advocated for Chick-fil-A’s religious freedom, and current Mayor Ron Nirenberg, who has described the religious freedom battle as unimportant.
“Every day the Chick-fil-A removal decision is allowed to stand hurts our reputation nationwide as a welcoming and inclusive city,” Brockhouse said in April when he unsuccessfully challenged the decision with a revote. “It sends a message we are anti-faith, and we cannot stand by without speaking the truth and standing up for our principles. The removal of Chick-fil-A has embarrassed San Antonio.”
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Source: Baptist Press