Fed Lift Airport Bain of Chick-fil-A, Texas, Then It Happened

People walk in front of the Chick-fil-A restaurant in New York City on August 28, 2020.
Alexey Rosenfeld / Getty

Fast food chain Chick-fil-A has no plans to open a restaurant at San Antonio International Airport, despite city officials being given the opportunity Monday after a deal with federal officials.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced on Monday that the chain would be offered a lease at the airport, more than a year after San Antonio officials thwarted the company’s plans due to a history of donating to anti-LGBTQ causes Time later. Despite the decision, Chick-fil-A said it was no longer interested in opening a restaurant at the airport.

“We are always evaluating potential new locations in hopes of serving superb food with remarkable service to existing and new customers.” Chick-fil-A said in a statement. “While we are not pursuing a location in San Antonio Airport at this time, we are grateful for the opportunity to serve San Antonio at our 32 existing restaurants.”

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In March 2019, Paxton urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to launch an investigation into the San Antonio City Council citing the restaurant’s plans to open at the airport.

Two months later, the FAA announced that they would investigate the decision, as well as the same at New York’s Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Although the chicken sandwich chain did not wish to pursue the occasion, Paxton announced Monday as a victory for religious freedom.

“This is a victory for religious freedom in Texas and I strongly commend the FAA and the City of San Antonio for reaching this resolution,” Paxton said in a statement. “Excluding a respected seller based on religious beliefs is contrary to tolerance and inconsistent with the Constitution, Texas law, and Texas values.”

Chick-fil-A has been the center of controversy for most of the past decade, as its conservatives were opposed to LGBTQ ideas by Christian owners. The company’s boycott began in 2012 after CEO Dan Cathy claimed that same-sex marriage would invite “God’s judgment on our nation”.

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While pro-LGBTQ activists drew harsh criticism for the company donating millions for anti-LGBTQ actions, many conservatives praised the company and defended its controversial views based on religious freedom. The company insisted that it had no political agenda while continuing the donation.

In November 2019, the company shifted its donation policy to focus on causes of homelessness, starvation and education benefits. Groups that have been characterized as some opponents of LGBTQ lose their wealth as part of the change, including the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Among the new recipients is Covenant House, an LGBTQ group that benefits homeless and runaway youth.

Christian conservatives, many of whom vocally criticized Chick-fil-A, criticized him for donating to LGBTQ causes, reacting to the new donation policy with displeasure. Despite this, the company released a record profit record by the end of the year.

Newsweek Chick-fil-A reached out for comment.