Chick-fil-A: The Latest Example of Government Punishing a Family Business Because of its Religious Beliefs | First Liberty
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Chick-fil-A: The Latest Example of Government Punishing a Family Business Because of its Religious Beliefs

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April 3, 2019

UPDATE – 04/17/2019: First Liberty is investigating city council officials and their recent decision to exclude Chick-fil-A from operating at the San Antonio International Airport.

Our attorneys have requested that San Antonio City Council officials provide public records and documents of a recent contract they entered into with a different vendor, who also wanted to exclude Chick-fil-A from the city’s airport.

As a city that portrays itself as tolerant and inclusive, San Antonio city officials should have nothing to hide.

With our investigation, we’re looking to ensure that San Antonio officials do not receive federal grant money to subsidize bigotry and religious animosity.


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On March 28th, 2019, First Liberty Institute sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao calling for an investigation into San Antonio’s decision to ban Chick-fil-A from opening a location at the city’s international airport.

Despite originally being included among a host of new dining additions to Terminal A in the airport, Chick-fil-A was later excluded from the plans with a 6-4 city council vote citing concerns about the company’s history of religious activity that the city council found offensive.

The city council’s actions here are inexcusable. San Antonio should welcome the opportunity to add a popular and successful restaurant like Chick-fil-A to its airport offerings, not discriminate against it because the city council disapproves of its charitable choices.

Our letter to Secretary Chao outlines 3 primary charges:

  • That there is clear evidence of pervasive, intentional religious discrimination by members of the city council of San Antonio
  • That the San Antonio city council’s engagement in this unconstitutional religious discrimination makes them ineligible for federal grants
  • That the City of San Antonio’s council members violated local and federal policies requiring nondiscrimination

“Federal taxpayers should not be required to subsidize religious bigotry,” said First Liberty General Council Hiram Sasser in a statement. “The city council cannot operate in a way that brazenly violates the Constitution and federal law. But if it chooses to, then the federal government should pull its grant.”

Read the entire letter here.

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