Republicans in Texas may not be concerned about protecting access to safe abortion, but they’re certainly worried about the rights of homophobic chicken restaurants to open locations in airports.
The Republican-controlled Texas House passed the so-called “Save Chick-fil-A” bill on Monday, despite fervent opposition from Democrats and the LGBTQ caucus. The bill outlaws local governments from taking “any adverse action” against any person or business for their affiliation with a religious organization, including those that promote anti-LGBTQ causes.
The bill already passed the Republican-controlled Senate — though the Senate will need to approve of small changes made by the House — and is now fast-tracked for the GOP governor, whose expected to sign it. (He recently tweeted out a picture of his own Chick-fil-A dinner.)
Republicans introduced the bill after the San Antonio City Council voted to ban Chick-fil-A from opening up shop in the city’s airport three months ago in response to the fast-food chain’s long-documented history of anti-LGBTQ advocacy. And its members wouldn’t reconsider their decision. Conservative protesters then showed up at the Capitol in April to show their support for Republican-sponsored legislation to protect the chicken restaurant.
“This bill is going to pass; let’s face it,” state Rep. Celia Israel, a Democrat, said minutes before her colleagues cast their votes, according to the Austin Chronicle. “It’s been cloaked in religious freedom, but the genesis, the nexus of this bill, is in hatred.”
Democrats have made several attempts to block the legislation, and the Legislature’s first-ever LGBTQ caucus has warned that it will essentially codify legal discrimination against their community. Republicans, however, characterized it as a pro-First Amendment bill that supports “religious liberty.”
Clarification 5/21 at 2:32 p.m. ET: An earlier version of this story did not include that the Texas Senate will have to re-approve the bill before Gov. Greg Abbott signs it.
Cover image: Image via Greg Abbott's Twitter