This article was originally published in our sister publication Out In SA.
The San Antonio City Council voted Thursday against the opening of a Chick-Fil-A concession at the city’s airport after members of council voiced concern about the chain's record on LGBTQ issues.
The vote was 6 to 4 with one abstention.
The Chick-Fil-A restaurant was part of a group of ten “concepts” Paradies Lagardère, a company that operates stores in airports and hotels throughout the U.S. and Canada, seeks to open in 10,000 square feet of space in Terminal A.
Besides Chick-Fil-A, Paradies would open concessions for The Luxury, Smoke Shack BBQ, Local Coffee, Boss Bagels & Coffee, Spurs, IStore, Sip Brew Bar and Market, and Adina’s Market.
Atlanta-based Chick-Fil-A has long had a reputation for promoting an anti-LGBTQ agenda.
In 2012, the company’s CEO, Dan T. Cathy, said he opposed marriage equality. It was revealed the company donated millions of dollars to political groups seen as hostile to LGBTQ rights. Later that year, Chick-Fil-A released a statement saying. “Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”
However, recently released 2017 tax filings show the Chick-Fil-A Foundation donated more than $1.8 million to three groups with anti-LGBTQ policies.
District 1 City Councilman Roberto C. Treviño motioned for Paradies to secure another national brand to replace Chick-Fil-A. The motion before the City Council was amended to exclude Chick-Fil-A and was passed after a lengthy discussion.
“With this decision, the City Council reaffirmed the work our city has done to become a champion of equality and inclusion,” Treviño said in a prepared statement. “San Antonio is a city full of compassion, and we don’t have room in our public facilities for a business with a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior.”
“This is the first we’ve heard of this. It’s disappointing,” Chick-Fil-A said in a statement. “We would have liked to have had a dialogue with the city council before this decision was made. We agree with Councilmember Treviño that everyone is and should feel welcome at Chick-fil-A. We plan to reach out to the city council to gain a better understanding of this decision.”
City Council members Art A. Hall (District 2), Greg Brockhouse (District 6), John Courage (District 9) and Clayton Perry (District 10) voted nay on the motion to exclude Chic-Fil-A. The four councilmen felt the contract needed more time for review. District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca J. Viagran abstained.
“Everyone has a place here,” Treviño said, “and everyone should feel welcome when they walk through our airport. I look forward to the announcement of a suitable replacement [for Chick-Fil-A] by Paradies.”
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