Ruling Allows Conservative Activists to Continue Suit Against San Antonio for Excluding Chick-fil-A From Airport Contract

Sanford Nowlin
A court ruling Thursday has cleared the way for conservative activists' lawsuit against the City of San Antonio over its decision not to let Chick-fil-A open an outlet at the airport, the Express-News reports.

San Antonio had asked state District Judge David Canales to pitch out the suit, arguing that the state law that serves as a central pillar of the plaintiff's claim wasn't in effect last spring when city council voted not to allow the Atlanta-based fast food chain to open in the airport.

However, Canales ruled Thursday that the suit can continue, the daily reports.

The so-called “Save Chick-fil-A” law passed by the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature last summer bans government entities from taking “adverse action” against a business based on its religious affiliation. That measure passed over the objection of Democrats, who warned that it provides legal cover for companies to engage in religious discrimination.

“We are disappointed with the outcome of today’s hearing and will evaluate our legal options going forward,” city attorney Liz Provencio told the Express-News. “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.”

In the lead up to the council vote, District 1 Councilman Roberto Treviño argued that Chick-fil-A’s history of donating to groups opposed to LGBTQ+ rights put it in conflict with the city's nondiscrimination ordinance. Mayor Ron Nirenberg said he voted against the chain's inclusion because its closed-Sunday policy would lessen options for travelers and yield lower city revenues.

Conservatives including Gov. Greg Abbott seized on last year's council vote, claiming it was evidence that municipalities discriminate against religious groups. Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is investigating whether the city violated laws with its decision.

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