Texas Gov. signs 'Save Chick-fil-A' bill into law, following San Antonio airport ban

A sign outside a Chick-fil-A restaurant.
A sign outside a Chick-fil-A restaurant. | Facebook

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed into law a bill in defense of fast food chain Chick-fil-A after the fast food restaurant faced opposition from the San Antonio city council earlier this year.

The legislation, which has been called the "Save Chick-fil-A" bill, stops the government from taking action against a company or individual for donating to religious groups. The bill passed easily through the Republican-controlled state legislature.

Founded by the Atlanta-area based Cathy family, who are devout Baptists, Chick-fil-A has a long history of donating to Christian groups that adhere to traditional marriage beliefs, a stance now routinely framed in culture as anti-LGBT.

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In March, Chick-fil-A was disallowed from opening a restaurant at the San Antonio airport following a vote from the city council, which prompted a backlash.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference in Austin, Texas, U.S., June 6, 2017.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference in Austin, Texas, U.S., June 6, 2017. | (Photo: REUTERS/Jon Herskovitz)

Council member Roberto Treviño reportedly said at the time that the southern Texas city did “not have room in our public facilities for a business with a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior” and praised the city's move, saying it represented San Antonio becoming "a champion of equality and inclusion."

Abbott had signaled his support for the "Save Chick-fil-A" measure last month, tweeting a photo of his laptop showing a news article about the bill being sent to his desk alongside a Chick-fil-A beverage cup. He captioned the tweet: "So. What are the odds I'll sign the Chick-fil-A bill? I'll let you know after dinner."

The bill was sponsored in the Texas House by Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, who argued that the business was unfairly labeled as anti-LGBT because of its financial giving to organizations such as the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which also reportedly receives contributions from other large companies.

Last week, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a suit against the city of San Antonio in order to force them to comply with an investigation about their move to bar the fast food chain, examining whether it amounted to religious bigotry.

“The public has an interest in the information,” the lawsuit read.

“The information sought by the Attorney General relates to the City of San Antonio’s decision to exclude Chick-fil-A from a public contract because of the sincerely held religious beliefs of its owners, and despite the fact that Chick-fil-A has a long and undisputed track record of serving its customers without bias or discrimination.”

The Federal Aviation Administration announced in late May that it was undertaking its own investigation into whether the fast food chain was discriminated against because of their religious beliefs.

In the past decade, Chick-fil-A's sales have tripled, earning $10.2 billion in 2018. The fast food chain, which first opened over 50 years ago, is known for friendly customer service and has maintained its policy of being closed on Sunday.

Since 2015, Chick-fil-A has been ranked every year as the top fast-food chain in the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

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