Chick-fil-A is no longer seeking to open a restaurant in San Antonio, Texas—even though city officials were forced to relent and allow the Christian-owned business to open a franchise after more than a year of legal back-and-forth.
“We are always evaluating potential new locations in the hopes of serving existing and new customers great food with remarkable service,” Chick-fil-A said in a statement.
“While we are not pursuing a location in the San Antonio airport at this time, we are grateful for the opportunity to serve San Antonians in our 32 existing restaurants,” it said.
The popular fast-food chain tried to open a location in the San Antonio International Airport a couple of years ago, but city council members blocked Chick-fil-A from doing so.
They argued that the business’s owners were discriminatory towards the LGBT community because they donated to Christian charities.
In return, the state of Texas opened an investigation last year into whether San Antonio had discriminated against the restaurant “due to the expression of the owner’s religious beliefs.”
That investigation concluded recently, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told Fox News on Sunday that Chick-fil-A would finally be offered a lease at the San Antonio International Airport.
Paxton said the investigation’s conclusion was “so important” because if Texas had allowed this kind of discrimination to occur in San Antonio, “then this could happen all over the country.”
“City councils or other governmental entities could just decide they didn’t like your personal views on whatever related to your religious faith and stop you from having a business,” he explained, calling San Antonio’s actions a “violation of our First Amendment rights.”
San Antonio, however, denied Paxton’s claim that the city would be offering Chick-fil-A a lease.
Instead, city leaders agreed to an “informal resolution” with the state’s Department of Transportation after the Federal Aviation Administration concluded its investigation into the matter, city officials said.
“The FAA has not ordered the City of San Antonio to have Chick-fil-A at its airport. The City itself offered to resolve the FAA investigation informally following Chick-fil-A’s publicly stated change-of-position on its charitable giving policy,” the city said in a statement, according to San Antonio TV station KSAT.
“The City maintains that at no point did it discriminate against Chick-fil-A,” it said. “Any placement of Chick-fil-A at the San Antonio Airport is ultimately contingent on Chick-fil-A’s continued interest and approval by the City Council,” the statement continued.
But Chick-fil-A is no longer interested.
Given the city’s blatant opposition to the franchise, it’s easy to understand why.
City council members accused Chick-fil-A of endorsing a “legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior”—all because the company donated to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a student organization that believes “marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman,” according to the organization’s mission statement.
Paxton argued that regardless of whether Chick-fil-A chooses to open a restaurant in San Antonio, it was important for the state of Texas to take a stand against religious discrimination.
“If we stop it now, it allows other restaurants and other business owners to continue to have their own personal religious views and not be affected by government telling them that they can’t do something,” he said.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press