Food by VICE

San Antonio Has Reportedly Spent $315K to Keep Chick-fil-A Out of Its Airport

Much like a Polynesian Sauce stain on a pair of white pants, Chick-fil-A doesn't go away that easily.

by Jelisa Castrodale
Jan 23 2020, 12:00pm

Photo: Getty Images

Last March, the San Antonio (Tex.) City Council voted 6-4 in favor of preventing Chick-fil-A from opening a restaurant in its airport, citing the Atlanta-based chain's history of opposition to same-sex marriage, and its willingness to make financial donations to organizations that discriminate against the LGBTQ community.

"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," Councilman Roberto Treviño wrote at the time. “Everyone has a place here, and everyone should feel welcome when they walk through our airport.”

But much like a Polynesian Sauce stain on a pair of white pants, Chick-fil-A doesn't go away that easily. The city is now facing two lawsuits and a federal investigation and, according to KENS5, their decision to keep those homophobia-adjacent nuggets out of Terminal A has cost at least $315,800 so far—and that's probably not the final bill, as other invoices are still pending.

Earlier this month, state District Judge David Canales ruled that one of those lawsuits against the city could proceed. Five San Antonio residents sued both the city and the airport concessionaire, Paradies Lagardère, alleging that Chick-fil-A was being unfairly targeted because "it donates money to Christian organizations that oppose homosexual behavior."

Through this lawsuit, the group hopes to force San Antonio to open the airport Chick-fil-A, and they have also promised to sue any other restaurant or business that takes what they see as Chick-fil-A's rightful place in the terminal.

“We are disappointed with the outcome of today’s hearing and will evaluate our legal options going forward,” First Assistant City Attorney Liz Provencio said at the time. “We maintain that the city did nothing wrong and certainly did not violate any law, and we will continue to vigorously defend the city’s interests.”

Last summer, Texas governor Greg Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 1978, euphemistically known as the "Save Chick-fil-A bill." According to NBC News, the legislation was written to prevent government entities from "taking adverse action" against any business or individual because of their religious or moral beliefs.

"No business should be discriminated against simply because its owners donate to a church, the Salvation Army, or other religious organization," Abbott tweeted at the time. "Texas protects religious liberty."

In November, Chick-fil-A announced that it would no longer be making financial donations to the Salvation Army or the Fellowship of Christian Athlete, two organizations that have been accused of discriminating against the LGBTQ community—but it didn't exactly rule out supporting organizations with similar policies again in the future. "No organization will be excluded from future consideration–faith-based or non-faith-based," Chick-fil-A President and COO Tim Tassopoulos told VICE in a statement.

In a letter to the American Family Association (AFA)—an organization that has been designated as an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center—Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy seemed to push that door open even further.

"We understand how some thought we were abandoning our longstanding support of faith-based organizations," he wrote. "We inadvertently discredited several outstanding organizations that have effectively served communities for years."

The people of San Antonio may love fried chicken, but they apparently don't want a side of closed-minded politics.

Tagged:
Chicken
Fast Food
texas
fried chicken
San Antonio
Chick-fil-A
airport food