The Texas attorney general has sued San Antonio to obtain documents regarding the city’s decision to exclude Chick-fil-A from an airport concessions deal because of the religious beliefs of its owner.
But it’s just one of the cases against the city, and now AG Ken Paxton, who wants documents shedding light “on the religious bigotry,” will get some help.
Lawyers with First Liberty Institute have filed a petition in Texas district court in Travis County to join the state’s lawsuit.
When the dispute began in April, First Liberty sought public records from the city. The city refused First Liberty and also the state, prompting the lawsuit.
“If San Antonio city officials are proud of their decision to ban Chick-fil-A from the city’s airport, why do they insist on hiding from the public its records about the decision?” said Keisha Russell, counsel to First Liberty Institute.
“The public deserves to know just how deeply the religious animosity runs within San Antonio’s city government. We’re happy to be joining General Paxton in the effort to get to the bottom of San Antonio’s decision.”
First Liberty said that despite Texas laws “that promote transparency and accountability, San Antonio city officials sought to deny access to public records regarding the city’s decision.”
Chick-fil-A has been in the crosshairs of LGBT activists since its owner advocated for traditional marriage. The company’s critics were further infuriated when they discovered its contributions go to conservative charities.
The federal government is reviewing the decision.
The FAA explained federal law prohibits “airport operators from excluding persons on the basis of religious creed from participating in airport activities that receive or benefit from FAA grant funding.”
The San Antonio vote was 6-4, and supporters of the ban claimed they were protecting the city’s “reputation for inclusion and equality.”
In 2012, Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy drew the ire of LGBT activists when he said that God has defined marriage.
“I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than You as to what constitutes a marriage,’” Cathy said.
Chick-fil-A has said it is in the business of serving food and hospitality to all.
Later, Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbot signed into law a bill that prohibits cities from taking “adverse action” against businesses based on their contributions to religious groups.
“The failure of the city and its manager to release public information causes irreparable harm to intervenor for which there is no adequate remedy at law,” the First Liberty filing said.