The San Antonio City Council voted last night to approve a slate of restaurants that would operate in the city’s airport, but only after the company operating those restaurants, Paradies Lagardère, agreed to take Chick-fil-A off the list.
City Councilman Roberto C. Treviño pushed for that change because the company (as well as the owner) has a history of giving money to anti-LGBTQ organizations. While the restaurant says they no longer give to groups that focus on that issue, ThinkProgress noted on Wednesday that, in 2017, they still gave $1.8 million to Christian groups that promote the same bigoted values even if they don’t focus on it.
For example, the Chick-fil-A Foundation gave $1,653,416 to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which bars employees from engaging in “homosexual acts,” and $150,000 to the Salvation Army, which has a history of discriminatory behavior.
San Antonio officials didn’t say their votes were a response to that report, but it didn’t hurt.
“With this decision, the City Council reaffirmed the work our city has done to become a champion of equality and inclusion,” Treviño explained in a statement. “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. Everyone has a place here, and everyone should feel welcome when they walk through our airport. I look forward to the announcement of a suitable replacement by Paradies.”
Conservative Christians are already treating this as discrimination against their beliefs, even though Christianity had absolutely nothing to do with the decision. For all we know, the other restaurants that will be in the airport have Christian owners, too, but their chains don’t have a history of promoting faith-based hate.
FOX News’ Todd Starnes summed up the critics of Chick-fil-A in simple terms: “They seem to believe any Christian who supports traditional marriage is a homophobic bigot.”
Wow. He almost got one right. I would add it’s not just a belief in “traditional marriage” that’s the problem. It’s how CEO Dan Cathy and his restaurant acted on that belief, supporting groups that actively worked to suppress the rights of LGBTQ people, and even now giving money to groups that promote that kind of discriminatory thinking.
San Antonio will be just fine. There are other restaurants out there. It’s not like Chick-fil-A has some Constitutional right to be in every airport. This was a business decision — a signal to tourists and citizens that the city welcomes people regardless of sexual orientation — and it’ll be good for the city in the long-term.
Treviño deserves a lot of credit for getting a deal made without indirectly throwing LGBTQ people under the bus in the process.
(Image via Shutterstock)