SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The city council of San Antonio, Texas has voted to exclude the popular fast food chain Chick-fil-A from opening a restaurant at the San Antonio International Airport, stating that “we do not have room in our public facilities for a business with a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior.”
According to reports, on Thursday, the city council voted 6-4 to approve a “Food, Beverage and Retail Prime Concession Agreement” with Paradies Lagardère to utilize 10,000 square feet in restaurant and concession space at the airport, with the stipulation that Chick-fil-A be removed as a vendor.
Local television station KTSA reports that the seven-year agreement includes eateries such as Smoke Shack and Boss Bagels and Coffee, and initially would have come with a Chick-fil-A, but officials did not want the fast food restaurant as part of the package as they view the chicken chain as having a history of opposing homosexuality.
“With this decision, the city council reaffirmed the work our city has done to become a champion of equality and inclusion. San Antonio is a city full of compassion, and we do not have room in our public facilities for a business with a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior,” Councilman Robert Trevino said in a statement posted to the City of San Antonio website.
“Everyone has a place here, and everyone should feel welcome when they walk through our airport,” he said. “I look forward to the announcement of a suitable replacement by Paradies.”
While it is not known if the article had any influence, the vote comes as the outlet ThinkProgress published a report on Wednesday on Chick-fil-A’s charitable donations for 2017.
Entitled “Chick-fil-A Donated to Anti-LGBTQ Group that Bars Employees From ‘Homosexual Acts,’” the article notes that the chicken chain donated $1,653,416 to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, $6,000 to the Paul Anderson Youth Home, and $150,000 to the Salvation Army during that year, the latest on file.
“The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is a religious organization that seeks to spread an anti-LGBTQ message to college athletes and requires a strict ‘sexual purity’ policy for its employees that bars any ‘homosexual acts,'” reporter Josh Israel wrote in taking issue with the company’s donor practices.
“Paul Anderson Youth Home, a ‘Christian residential home for troubled youth,’ teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is ‘rage against Jesus Christ and His values.'”
As previously reported, the controversy over Chick-fil-A began in 2012 when owner Dan Cathy told Baptist Press that he is “very much supporting of the family—the biblical definition of the family unit.”
“We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives,” he said. “We give God thanks for that.”
According to the Washington Post, Cathy had also stated on a radio broadcast that he believed that the promotion of homosexual “marriage” was evoking the wrath of God upon America.
Following initial uproar about the matter, including assertions that the company donates to organizations that oppose same-sex “marriage,” Chick-fil-A issued a statement outlining that it had never sought to donate to groups that speak against homosexuality, and that “[g]oing forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”
In a document entitled “Who We Are,” the company also noted that “[t]here are many diverse viewpoints and opinions among those associated with Chick-fil-A,” and that “[i]f someone in Chick-fil-A offers a personal viewpoint, they do not presume to speak for everyone.”
The company also outlined its donor practices, noting that its charitable outreaches are focused in three areas: “Creating educational opportunities for our team members and youth across America,” “Food donations for those serving or those in need,” and “Developing youth and family/marriage enrichment programs and supporting our communities.”
“For many months now, Chick-fil-A’s corporate giving has been mischaracterized,” it stated, referring to the hostility it has received from pro-homosexual groups that have rejected the fast food restaurant by claiming that it gives donations to organizations that oppose same-sex “marriage.”
“Chick-fil-A’s giving heritage is focused on programs that educate youth, strengthen families and enrich marriages, and support communities. We will continue to focus our giving in those areas. … Our intent is not to support political or social agendas,” Chick-fil-A further clarified, noting that the company’s giving has always been focused on positive charities and outreaches, but not necessarily any particular social issue, such as homosexuality.
Still, homosexual advocacy entities and others continued to oppose Chick-fil-A, and on Saturday, Texas Senator Ted Cruz weighed in on the news that San Antonio City Council had excluded the restaurant from the airport.
“San Antonio City Council voted to ban @ChickfilA from the airport bc the company gave to … the Fellowship of Christian Athletes & the Salvation Army?!? That’s ridiculous. And not Texas,” he tweeted.
Chick-fil-A told reporters in a statement that it wishes “we had the opportunity to clarify misperceptions about our company prior to the vote. We agree with the council member that everyone should feel welcome at Chick-fil-A. We have a fundamental code of conduct at Chick-fil-A: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Think Progress further reports that the company advised last week that “[i]n 2017, a decision was made by the Chick-fil-A Foundation to no longer donate to the [Paul Anderson Youth Home] after a blog post from 2010 surfaced that does not meet Chick-fil-A’s commitment to creating a welcoming environment to all.”
It repeated that it does not have the intent of backing any particular “social or political agenda” with its donor practices.
“[S]ince the Chick-fil-A Foundation was created in 2012, our giving has always focused on youth and education,” Chick-fil-A stated. “We have never donated with the purpose of supporting a social or political agenda. There are 140,000 people—black, white; gay, straight; Christian, non-Christian—who represent Chick-fil-A. We are the sum of many experiences, but what we all have in common is a commitment to providing great food, genuine hospitality, and a welcoming environment to all of our guests.”
2 Corinthians 4:4 states that “the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”