In March of 2019, the San Antonio City Council (in Texas) voted 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.
The council felt that the restaurant was anti-LGBTQ, given the company and its owners’ past donations to bigoted organizations. In a statement, one council member said, “We do not have room in our public facilities for a business with a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior.”
That decision led to a conservative outcry suggesting this was Christian Persecution at work.
Some conservatives treated it as discrimination. Mike Huckabee urged Chick-fil-A to sue the city. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said the council’s decision “may violate federal law and applicable federal regulations” and opened an investigation into the matter. And Texas lawmakers passed a bill better known as the “Save Chick-fil-A” bill which prohibits cities from taking “adverse actions” against companies based on their owners’ religious beliefs.
Paxton’s “investigation” eventually led to an informal resolution with the city council allowing Chick-fil-A to request space in the airport if it chose to do that. The city relented after it was convinced the anti-gay giving had finally stopped.
Separate from all that, there was also a lawsuit by the (Christian) San Antonio Family Association claiming the city had violated the newly passed law by rejecting Chick-fil-A… even though the council had voted on the airport thing before the law was passed. The Christians actually scored a victory in a lower court, but it overturned by an Appeals Court last month. Those judges said the activists had no legal standing to pursue the case.
So where are we at now?
Chick-fil-A had a green light to pursue a lease inside the airport… but the restaurant now says it won’t bother. After all that controversy, and all the fighting, and all the conservatives bending over backwards to equate a restaurant chain with an entire religion, Chick-fil-A is just going to bow out.
“We are always evaluating potential new locations in the hopes of serving existing and new customers great food with remarkable service.” Chick-fil-A said in a statement. “While we are not pursuing a location in the San Antonio airport at this time, we are grateful for the opportunity to serve San Antonians in our 32 existing restaurants.”
I guess everyone got what they wanted. Conservatives found a new way to waste everyone’s time while pretending to fight for religious liberty, Chick-fil-A got the opportunity it wanted but chose not to pursue it, the city of San Antonio won’t have a historically anti-LGBTQ restaurant in its airport after all, and anyone who’s flying in the city will soon have another restaurant that actually stays open on Sundays.
(Image via Shutterstock. Portions of this article were published earlier)