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Chick-Fil-A Ban From Airport May Be Unconstitutional

Chick-Fil-A Ban From Airport May Be Unconstitutional
Jackie Reddy

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has launched an investigation to ascertain if San Antonio’s city council’s bid to stop a Chick-fil-A from opening at SAT was unconstitutional. The council said it had blocked the opening due to its “anti-LGBTQ behavior.” The matter has been raised to Elaine Chao.

An investigation is underway in Texas to ascertain if a move by San Antonio’s city council to prevent the opening of a Chick-fil-A at the city’s airport was in violation of the Constitution, reports HuffPost.

The outlet reports that the council opted to leave the franchise out of plans to encourage businesses at San Antonio International Airport (SAT). In a statement on its decision issued last month, Councilman Roberto Treviño said, “With this decision, the city council reaffirmed the work our city has done to become a champion of equality and inclusion. San Antonio is a city full of compassion, and we do not have room in our public facilities for a business with a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior.”

He added, “Everyone has a place here, and everyone should feel welcome when they walk through our airport.”

Back in 2012, Chick-fil-A’s CEO Dan T. Cathy gave an interview to the Baptist Press which offered firm support of family and marriage in the traditional sense. Cathy’s comments were seen as homophobic and HuffPost also observes that Chick-fil-A has donated in the past to charities with an anti-LGBTQ stance.

However, it appears that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is now looking into if the council’s choice to block Chick-fil-A from opening at SAT is in violation of freedom of religion.

In a letter to San Antonio’s mayor last month, Paxton wrote, “The Constitution’s protection of religious liberty is somehow even better than Chick-fil-A’s chicken. Unfortunately, I have serious concerns that both are under assault at the San Antonio airport.”

Raising the matter to U.S. Department of Transportation secretary Elaine Chao, Paxton wrote, “The city’s decision to specifically exclude Chick-fil-A from a government program based on the sincerely-held religious beliefs of its leadership raises serious constitutional questions.”

“There is no evidence indicating that Chik-fil-A has ever maintained any policy or practice of discriminating against any group of people, and the city offered no such evidence as the basis of its action,” he added.

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View Comments (13)


  1. strickerj

    April 2, 2019 at 4:14 am

    This is pretty extreme – for a city council (or any government agency) to block a business from opening because of its perceived political affiliation should be unacceptable no matter what side of the political aisle you’re on. It’s no exaggeration to say this is a slippery slope towards the end of freedom of speech.

  2. JimInOhio

    April 2, 2019 at 5:14 am

    Key quote from the Texas AG:

    “There is no evidence indicating that Chik-fil-A has ever maintained any policy or practice of discriminating against any group of people, and the city offered no such evidence as the basis of its action,”

    This certainly suggests San Antonio political leadership is far more anti-Chik-Fil-A than Chik-Fil-A is anti-LGBTQ.

  3. Counsellor

    April 2, 2019 at 6:15 am

    “There is no evidence indicating that Chik-fil-A has ever maintained any policy or practice of discriminating against any group of people, and the city offered no such evidence as the basis of its action,”

    This is the key. The ban is almost certainly unconstitutional and based on religious hatred. For shame!

  4. SomeguyinDFW

    April 2, 2019 at 7:45 am

    There really isn’t even much of a question about it. There’s virtually no defense of this policy from a constitutional perspective.

  5. GetSetJetSet

    April 2, 2019 at 9:02 am

    Libs need to keep their politics away from chicken sandwiches

  6. Busymann

    April 2, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    Newsflash! Christians and many other religions generally believe marriage is between a man and a woman. Leadership of a company can believe this too and that’s ok.

    Now, does leadership have a policy of treating LGBT employees or customers badly? No?

    Then there’s no problem here.

    The far left often goes too far.

  7. Moyerclan

    April 2, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    The founder of CKA had a personal opinion. Idiots blame the entire business for one man’s personal beliefs, even though he never once did anything to be blamed for except *express his personal opinion*. He never discriminated in business, nor did his franchisees, that I have ever heard. The only discrimination appears to come from some liberals.

  8. bigbuy

    April 2, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    @Moyerclan. FYI, it was not the founder, Truett Cathy. It was his son, Dan Cathy, that made those statements.
    I knew Truett personally. He was one of the nicest people I have ever met.

  9. UAPremierExec

    April 2, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    “Inclusion” as long as we agree with you.

    What about those of us that like waffle fries, or their lemonade, or the fact their chicken isn’t garbage like KFC & McDonalds? I guess we can’t get those at SAT.

    I do not approve of REI & Dicks Sporting Goods, but I’m not going to block them from doing business. I just spend my money elsewhere. Same can be said about an airport food court.

    And for the record, I’m gay. I don’t hate CFA, but I also don’t buy into this far, extreme left agenda that paints anyone who doesn’t agree with them as “extreme”.

  10. navigator4309

    April 2, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    Enact a bylaw or regulation requiring airport vendors to be open seven days per week to ensure “passenger convenience.” There, problem solved. CFA wouldn’t be interested as they won’t open on a Sunday.

    The taken approach, however, is indeed not constitutional. I don’t like CFA’s food and as a gay man, wouldn’t support them anyway, but this “we don’t tolerate intolerance as we define it” without evidence of actual harm is a slippery slope, no matter how much you agree or disagree with any one anecdote.

  11. chavala

    April 4, 2019 at 8:26 am

    And now BUF is banning them as well. I look forward to the day these hateful companies are put out of business entirely.

  12. SomeguyinDFW

    April 4, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    In chavala’s link, the Buffalo airport official makes this shocking statement: “As a state entity, the NFTA has a responsibility to avoid doing business with corporations who fund hateful and divisive groups.”

    In reality, a state entity has a constitutional duty not to discriminate against a person or organization on the basis of any viewpoint it adopts.

  13. corbetti

    April 5, 2019 at 6:10 am

    Navigator4309 nailed it – just have rules that all vendors must adhere to. If they choose not to adhere to those rules, that’s a business decision.

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