A Texas lawmaker thinks a piece of legislation dubbed as the "Save Chick-fil-A" bill could be model legislation for other states. Passed in recent days by both legislative chambers, it's now on its way to the governor's desk.
"I actually filed this bill – called the First Amendment Defense Act – before anything happened with the San Antonio airport and Chick-fil-A," says State Representative Matt Krause (R-District 93). "But once San Antonio made that decision, it kind of crystalized and clarified definitely one area where our constitutional rights needed to be strengthened."
The San Antonio City Council voted in late March to pull a contract with Chick-fil-A to open a location inside the San Antonio City Airport. Some council members objected to Chick-fil-A's donations to organizations including The Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The stated concern was that the organizations have an anti-LGBTQ record.
"Since then, I think they've tried to figure out a more economic message instead of just a blatant message that they don't like who Chick-fil-A donates to," says Krause.
For example, State Representative Richard Raymond (D-District 42) has been quoted as saying "they [Chick-fil-A] didn't get the contract because they don't open on Sundays."
"So you've seen some of that [as a reason], but the Atlanta airport – one of the busiest airports in America – has plenty of Chick-fil-A locations in it," notes Krause. "The Dallas airport has plenty of Chick-fil-A locations in it. None of them are open on Sundays. So I think that goes to show that it's still a good, economic decision [for the fast-food chain], but I think they're trying to use that now to kind of hide the original decision for giving Chick-fil-A the contract."
The Republican state lawmaker notes that a city official in Miami has raised some objections to Chick-fil-A coming to that airport.
"So I think this is good, model legislation for people around the country as we see more and more of these instances – and it doesn't have to be just Chick-fil-A; it can be any organization or business," he shares. "As I've told people for weeks now, it protects Chick-fil-A but it also protects Ben & Jerry's, [two companies that have] completely different viewpoints … on who they might donate to. Hopefully it will kind of catch on as model legislation that other states can use."
The bill, which prevents a government from punishing individuals or businesses based on their membership in, affiliation with, or contribution to a religious organization, passed the House and Senate and now awaits the governor's signature.