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Texas AG Investigates Decision To Ban Chick-fil-A From Airport Concession Deal

Courtesy City of San Antonio

The Texas attorney general informed San Antonio's mayor and city council on Thursday that his office will investigate the city's decision to ban Chick-fil-A from a concession deal at San Antonio International Airport.

Attorney General Ken Paxton also sent a letterto Elaine Chao, U.S. transportation secretary, to investigate if San Antonio's decision possibly violated federal law and Transportation Department rules.

“The City of San Antonio’s decision to exclude a respected vendor based on the religious beliefs associated with that company and its owners is the opposite of tolerance,” Paxton said in a statement Thursday. “The city’s discriminatory decision is not only out of step with Texas values, but inconsistent with the Constitution and Texas law."

First Liberty, a Dallas-based law firm, sent a similar letterto Chao this week, also asking the department to investigate if the city violated “federal law protecting religious liberty.” The firm alleged the City Council's decision made the city ineligible for federal grants.

In a statement, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said the city attorney’s office was reviewing the letter. He said he would withhold comment “until we have had adequate time to analyze it.”

Last week, the City Council passed an amendment 6 to 4 to prohibit Paradies Lagadère, a new concessions operator for the airport, from including Chick-fil-A in its concession plan.

Councilmembers John Courage, Clayton Perry, Greg Brockhouse and Art Hall voted against the amendment. Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran abstained from voting.

Before the vote Thursday, District 1 Councilman Roberto Trevino said Chick-fil-A demonstrated a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior.

The move drew praise from members of the LGBTQ community but harsh criticism from conservative public figures, including Senator Ted Cruz.

Earlier this week, Brockhouse sent an apology letter to Chick-fil-A separate from the city or other council members.

Joey Palacios can be reached at Joey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules.
Fernando Ortiz Jr. contributed to this report.

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules