The U.S. government is reviewing complaints that two American airports illegally discriminated against the popular Chick-fil-A restaurants, even as LGBT lawmakers tried to block a state law protecting companies that donate to faith-based groups.
Chick-fil-A has been in the crosshairs of LGBT activists since its owner advocated for traditional marriage. The company’s critics were further infuriated when they discovered its contributions go to conservative charities.
Recently, officials in San Antonio, who barred the Christian-owned company in their airport contract, revealed they are trying to hide from the public their conversations on the issue.
The dispute is ramping up at least partly because, according to the Washington Examiner, the Federal Aviation Administration has confirmed it is investigating the rejection of Chick-fil-A by the San Antonio airport as well as Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
“The Department of Transportation has received complaints alleging discrimination by two airport operators against a private company due to the expression of the owner’s religious beliefs,” the agency said.
Chick-fil-A gives to organizations such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army, which enraged LGBT activists.
Federal law, according to the FAA, prohibits “airport operators from excluding persons on the basis of religious creed from participating in airport activities that receive or benefit from FAA grant funding.”
Publicly funded universities also have banned Chick-fil-A. At Cal Poly, however, administrators kept a franchise on campus despite a vote of the Academic Senate. The administrators reasoned that to remove the fast food chain from campus “would be its own form of censorship and intolerance.”
In Texas, state Rep. Julie Johnson used a legislative trick known as a “point of order” to try to kill a proposed state law that would protect individuals and companies exercising their constitutionally protected First Amendment rights from being targeted with discrimination by LGBTQ groups.
The bill was revived and passed by the legislature, however, and Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign it into law.
The plan prevents “adverse action” by government entities against companies and individuals exercising their rights.
Chick-fil-A has been in the bull’s-eye of leftists since 2012 when its president, Dan Cathy, said that God has defined marriage.
“I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than You as to what constitutes a marriage,'” Cathy said.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also has announced an investigation of the San Antonio ban.
Keisha Russell, associate counsel with First Liberty, which has been raising concerns about the airport’s discrimination, told Fox News, “We are pleased that the FAA responded to our request by opening an investigation into San Antonio for its blatant, illegal religious discrimination against Chick-fil-A.
“First Liberty also launched our own investigation into the city’s actions and we vow to get to the bottom of San Antonio’s decision. American business owners should not have to suffer because they want to operate their businesses in accordance with their religious beliefs. Few things are more un-American than government hostility against religion.”
Chick-fil-A said in a statement that it is happy to serve all people regardless of characteristics, and it is in the business of serving food and hospitality to all.
It was First Liberty that requested, under freedom of information laws, access to the San Antonio City Council’s deliberations and comments on the issue.
In response, the city has asked the Texas attorney general for permission to conceal the information First Liberty is seeking.
A letter from Edward Guzman, deputy city attorney in San Antonio, asks the state for permission “to withhold documents from disclosure.”
He cites dozens of sections of the Texas Government Code.
“What do San Antonio officials have to hide?” asked Russell. “Transparency is essential to ensuring public trust in government. Tolerant and inclusive city officials should have no reason to deny the public an opportunity to review how and why they make important decisions.”