The San Antonio City Council approved a measure that banned Chick-fil-A its airport

By Helen Murphy
March 23, 2019 04:21 PM
Chick-fil-A
Metairie, Louisiana Chick-fil-A restaurant. The Chick-fil-A chain's owner started a controversy over gay rights when he made public statements against gay marriage. (Photo by Julie Dermansky/Corbis via Getty Images)

The San Antonio City Council voted to ban Chick-fil-A from the city’s airport due to the company’s anti-LGBTQ history.

On Thursday, the council approved a seven-year contract with Paradies Lagardère to open new restaurants in the San Antonio International Airport’s Terminal A, including Smoke Shack and Boss Bagels and Coffee, according to local station KTSA.

The agreement initially included a Chick-fil-A, but the council voted 6-4 that they would approve the contract “provided that [Paradies Lagardère] exclude the Chick-fil-A concept,” according to the council’s website.

“With this decision, the City Council reaffirmed the work our city has done to become a champion of equality and inclusion,” Councilman Roberto Treviño said in a statement after the vote. “San Antonio is a city full of compassion, and we do not have room in our public facilities for a business with a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior.”

In a statement obtained by PEOPLE on Saturday, Chick-fil-A said: “The press release issued by the council member was the first we heard of his motion and its approval by the San Antonio City Council. We wish we had the opportunity to clarify misperceptions about our company prior to the vote. We agree with the council member that everyone should feel welcome at Chick-fil-A.” The company added that Chick-fil-A “embraces all people, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

RELATED: Chick-fil-A Donated $1.6 Million to Group That Bans ‘Homosexual Acts’ Among Employees: Report

The move comes after renewed scrutiny of the fast food company. On Wednesday, ThinkProgress published a report alleging that, in 2017, the Chick-fil-A Foundation donated to groups with an alleged history of anti-LGBTQ discrimination.

According to tax documents obtained by the outlet, the foundation donated $1,653,416 to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and $6,000 to the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes requires a “sexual purity” policy for its employees, according to its job application, which states: “The Bible is clear in teaching on sexual sin including sex outside of marriage and homosexual acts. Neither heterosexual sex outside of marriage nor any homosexual act constitute an alternative lifestyle acceptable to God.”

Meanwhile, the Paul Anderson Youth Home allegedly “teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is ‘rage against Jesus Christ and His values,’” ThinkProgress reports.

PEOPLE reached out to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Paul Anderson Youth Home; neither immediately responded to a request for comment.

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On Thursday, the Chick-fil-A Foundation released a statement appearing to respond to the ThinkProgress report, in which they asserted that they “do not have a political or social agenda.”

“Our intention both at the corporate and restaurant level is to have a positive influence on our communities by donating to programs that benefit youth and education and are welcoming to all,” said Rodney Bullard, the Chick-fil-A vice president of corporate social responsibility and the executive director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation. “We are proud of the impact we’ve been able to make so far, and we have a lot yet to do.”

The statement continued, “We have no policy of discrimination against any group. We do not have a political or social agenda and more than 120,000 people from different backgrounds and beliefs represent the Chick-fil-A brand.”

RELATED: Runaway Cow Weaves Through Traffic to Get to Chick-fil-A

In their statement, the foundation did not deny that they had donated to the groups mentioned in the ThinkProgress report, but the statement also did not reference the groups’ alleged history of anti-LGBTQ behavior. The foundation added that, as of June 2017, they “no longer support” the Paul Anderson Youth Home. The Chick-fil-A Foundation did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for additional comment.

As reported by Vox, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy said in 2012 that the United States was “inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and we say we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.”

In response to the negative backlash that Cathy’s comments stoked, the company posted on Facebook that it would focus on chicken and “leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”

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