Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Thursday that he was opening an investigation into San Antonio’s decision to exclude Chick-fil-A from a contract with the city’s airport over the company’s religious beliefs, Fox News reports.
Paxton sent a letter to San Antonio City Council members and Mayor Ron Nirenberg, saying that he believed the first amendment was “under assault” over the city’s decision last week to exclude Chick-fil-A from a concessions contract with San Antonio International Airport because of what one council member called its “legacy of anti-LGBT behavior.”
“The Constitution’s protection of religious liberty is somehow even better than Chick-fil-A’s chicken. Unfortunately, I have serious concerns that both are under assault at the San Antonio Airport,” the letter read.
Paxton directed the AG’s office to open an investigation into whether the city’s action violated state law.
He also sent a letter to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao asking for the department to investigate whether the motion also violated federal laws.
“The city’s decision to specifically exclude Chick-fil-A from a government program based on the sincerely held religious beliefs of its leadership raises serious constitutional questions,” Paxton’s letter to the DOT stated.
“There is no evidence indicating that Chick-fil-A has ever maintained any policy or practice of discriminating against any group of people, and the city offered no such evidence as the basis of its action.”
Daily Caller reports that Paxton also penned a letter to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao urging for a federal investigation to be opened, according to documents obtained by KEN5. The city of San Antonio may have violated federal law and Transportation Department regulations by denying a contract to Chick-fil-A on religious grounds after voting to remove the franchise from a new airport concession contract.
The city council passed a motion on March 21 to approve the Food, Beverage and Retail Prime Concession Agreement with Paradies Lagardère for the airport with the condition that Chick-fil-A be excluded from the agreement.
The prohibition came after a report noted that in 2017, Chick-fil-A donated nearly $2 million to the Salvation Army, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Paul Anderson Youth Home. The report asserted that the three charities were discriminatory against LGBTQ individuals.
City councilman Roberto Treviño, who made the motion against Chick-fil-A, claimed that the ban reaffirmed that San Antonio is a champion of “equality and inclusion.”
“Targeting individuals, organizations, or corporations for carrying out their deeply-held religious beliefs in accord with our laws and consistent with many Americans’ similarly held religious beliefs is hardly making San Antonio a ‘champion of equality and inclusion,’” Roy said. “I hope this matter can be resolved, as it would be unfortunate if the council’s decision negatively impacted our ability to effectively advocate for San Antonio in Congress due to such rampant discriminatory action against a well-regarded business with such a significant presence in our communities in central Texas and across the nation.”