AUSTIN, TX (STL.News) – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Thursday sent a letter to the mayor and council members for the City of San Antonio, informing them he is opening an investigation surrounding the city’s decision to exclude Chick-fil-A from a concession contract that City staff recommended. By separate letter, he also requested that Secretary Elaine Chao of the United States Department of Transportation open an investigation into the city of San Antonio’s potential violation of federal law and Transportation Department regulations when the city banned Chick-fil-A from operating a restaurant in the San Antonio International Airport based on the company’s religious beliefs. Last Thursday, the San Antonio city council voted to remove Chick-fil-A from a new airport concessionaire contract, citing Chick-fil-A owners’ religious beliefs.
“The City of San Antonio’s decision to exclude a respected vendor based on the religious beliefs associated with that company and its owners is the opposite of tolerance,” Attorney General Paxton said. “The city’s discriminatory decision is not only out of step with Texas values, but inconsistent with the Constitution and Texas law.”
The First Amendment protects individuals and closely held companies from governmental restrictions based on their religious views or religious status. Additionally, federal regulations governing grant money provided to the San Antonio airport prohibit religious discrimination.