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City forced to spend thousands defending decision to ban Chick-fil-A amid lawsuits and Republican attacks

Nick Duffy January 21, 2020
A Chick-fil-A logo is seen on a take out bag at one of its restaurants on July 28, 2012 in Bethesda, Maryland.

A Chick-fil-A logo is seen on a take out bag at one of its restaurants on July 28, 2012 in Bethesda, Maryland. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty)

A city has been forced to spend more than $300,000 defending itself from legal challenges over its decision to block a Chick-fil-A from opening in an airport.

The city of San Antonio, Texas, has faced lawsuits and a federal investigation pushed by Republican officials over the March 2019 decision to block the chicken chain from opening an outlet in San Antonio International Airport over its links to anti-LGBT+ groups.

The anti-LGBT+ San Antonio Family Association and the state’s attorney general Ken Paxton – who has separately fought to deny discrimination protections for transgender children – have both launched legal action against the city, forcing it to expend thousands on the issue.

Chick-fil-A battle has cost San Antonio thousands.

According to local outlet KENS5, the cost of defending from the action has so far totalled $315,000 for the city.

Earlier this month, district judge David Canales rejected the city’s motion to dismiss the legal challenge.

First assistant city attorney Liz Provencio said: “We are disappointed with the outcome of the hearing and will evaluate our legal options going forward.

“We maintain that the city did nothing wrong and certainly did not violate any law, and we will continue to vigorously defend the city’s interests.”

Chick-fil-A in the US has been a site of protest for many LGBT+ people. (Tibrina Hobson/FilmMagic)
Chick-fil-As in the US has been a site of protest for many LGBT+ people. (Tibrina Hobson/FilmMagic)

Republicans won’t stop freaking out about airport chicken row.

Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, signed a bill in July 2019 to ban discrimination against businesses with anti-LGBT views in response to the protracted airport row.

Abbott staged a public signing ceremony for the so-called ‘Save Chick-fil-A’ bill, which bars the government entities from taking “any adverse action” that is based “wholly or partly on a person’s belief or action in accordance with the person’s sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction, including beliefs or convictions regarding marriage”.

The law means that LGBT+ people in Texas are now less protected from discrimination in Texas than people with homophobic views.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration launched an official probe into alleged discrimination “against a private company due to the expression of the owner’s religious beliefs”.

Chick-fil-A has faced a years-long boycott over donations to anti-LGBT+ charities and organisations.

In a letter to anti-LGBT+ lobbying group American Family Association earlier this month, Chick-fil-A boss Dan Cathy thanked them for “support” – and attempted to reassure evangelicals that the fast food chicken chain continue donations to groups that discriminate against LGBT+ people.

He said: “The intent of our corporate giving has always been to have impact — not to make a statement or support a political or social agenda.”

More: Anti-gay, chick-fil-a, homophobic, san antonio, Texas

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