‘Save Chick-fil-A Bill’ Passes Texas Legislature... and Guess Who the Attorney General Has in His Sights?

Earlier this month, Democrats in the Texas House of Representatives managed to block legislation that would protect any individual or group from having their religious liberty violated by any governmental entity. The bill has been dubbed the “Save Chick-fil-A bill” after the San Antonio city council banned Chick-fil-A from opening a location in the city’s airport because the company’s owners oppose gay marriage. Chick-fil-A does not discriminate against the LGBT community, and the Christian-owned business reversed their policy of being closed on Sundays after the 2016 shooting at Pulse, the gay club in Orlando, Florida, in order to feed first responders and blood donors.

The bill, which had already passed the Texas Senate, was revived last week in the House and managed to pass in a 79-62 vote today. After the vote, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sent a letter to San Antonio’s mayor and city council members informing them he is opening an investigation into their discriminatory decision to exclude Chick-fil-A from the concession contract at the airport.

Texas Democrats aren’t happy about the bill's passage, and absurdly claim the bill invites discrimination. Texas Values Action, a non-profit lobbying and advocacy organization that promotes faith, family, and freedom, released a statement following the vote.

Today, the Texas House passed (79-62) on second reading the Save Chick-fil-A religious freedom bill, SB 1978. Last week the House version (HB 3172) of the bill stopped on a technicality. Then, the Texas Senate moved SB 1978, the Senate companion, and gave it full passage last week.  The bill makes it clear the government cannot punish a private business or entity for making donations to Christian ministries or other religious organizations. Third and final House vote of the bill is now set for tomorrow. Then the Senate will need to simply “concur,” and the bill will then head to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for his expected signature.  SB 1978 has had bipartisan support throughout the process.

The City of San Antonio recently banned Chick-fil-A from opening a store at the airport because of donations made to The Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Nicole Hudgens Senior Policy Analyst for Texas Values Action, welcomed the news. “With local Texas governments attacking businesses because of donations to religious groups, the time for this bill is now.”

Chick-fil-A was also recently banned from the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport in Cheektowaga, New York. Democrats have one-party control in state government so the chances that a similar bill happening in New York is virtually zero, but another Chick-fil-A location in Cheektowaga, in addition to an existing stand-alone location that opened late last year, is currently under construction.

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Matt Margolis is the author of The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama and the bestselling The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. His new book, Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama's Legacy, will be published in July 2019. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis