Chick-fil-A has not been cleared for takeoff at the San Antonio International Airport.
Nearly a month after the San Antonio City Council voted to ban the fast-food chain from opening a location in the airport, the council narrowly rejected a proposal to reconsider the March 21 decision, Councilman Greg Brockhouse said Thursday.
At the March meeting, council members amended plans for a concessions agreement for new restaurants and businesses in Terminal A of the Texas airport to exclude the chicken restaurant, with some citing concerns with its record on LGBTQ issues.
Brockhouse, who is running for mayor, said in a statement that he asked the council for a revote and to debate the issue, which he says has sent a message that the city doesn’t “respect religious freedom” and has hurt the city’s reputation.
“We had a chance to fix that today and follow the will of our City, who have spoken clearly that the removal of Chick-fil-A was a mistake,” he said. “This Council again rejected religious freedom and voted against people of faith.”
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The motion was voted down 6-5, Brockhouse said.
“Make no mistake, this was never about a chicken sandwich. It was about respecting everyone in our community, honoring faith and being all inclusive,” he said in the statement.
Chick-fil-A said in a statement to USA TODAY in March that it “would welcome the opportunity to have a thoughtful dialogue with the city council and we invite all of them into our local stores to interact with the more than 2,000 team members who are serving the people of San Antonio.”
A week after the council’s earlier vote, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said his office was investigating and sent a letter to the council and a second letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao requesting her office “open an investigation of potential religious discrimination.”
“The Constitution’s protection of religious liberty is somehow even better than Chick-fil-A’s chicken,” Paxton wrote in the March 28 letter to the council. “Unfortunately, I have serious concerns that both are under assault at the San Antonio airport.”
First Liberty Institute, a religious liberty-focused law firm, also is calling for an investigation and sent a letter to Chao.
The fast-food chain was also disinvited from opening a location at the Buffalo airport in New York.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko
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