Chick-fil-A Vote Comes Home to Roost with Lawsuit from TX Attorney General
Article by: Jonathan Guajardo - Editor, SA Sentinel
Once again, the infamous Chick-fil-A vote has returned to roost in City Hall. Earlier today, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a petition in Travis County court to compel the city to disclose documents regarding the initial discussion in which the council voted to exclude the chain restaurant from the vendor contract for the San Antonio Airport. Paxton, like many concerned Texans, sees the council’s decision as a knock against religious freedom.
“We’ve simply opened an investigation using the Public Information Act,” said Paxton. “If a mere investigation is enough to excuse the City of San Antonio from its obligation to be transparent with the people of Texas, then the Public Information Act is a dead letter. The city’s extreme position only highlights its fear about allowing any sunshine on the religious bigotry that animated its decision.”
Under normal circumstances, these documents would be easily available under the Public Information Act. Designed to provide an increased level of visibility between citizens and their government, the act usually functions as a watchdog for concerned citizens to keep an eye on their government’s actions. However, due to the controversial nature of the decision and their anticipation of a lawsuit from the state, the city has refused to comply with the Attorney General’s investigation and has made it clear that they have no interest in providing the requested documents without a legal skirmish.
The closed city council meeting in question where they made the decision to not allow Chick-fil-A on their list of vendors also featured a notably heated dialogue between council members. It was at this meeting where one councilman referred to the restaurant as a “symbol of hate” for backing pro-Christian organizations such as the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which are seen by many progressive as anti-LGBTQ. Recently re-elected councilman, Manny Palaez, defended the other councilman’s controversial statement at a town hall meeting earlier in the election cycle.
At the April 18th City Council A-Session, the topic of the airport Chick-fil-A was once again up for discussion when Councilman and Current Mayoral Candidate Greg Brockhouse motioned for a re-vote on the issue in a public A-Session meeting. Although some saw the move as a political tactic in a volatile election cycle, Brockhouse defended his stance, arguing that his motives instead centered around concern with the council’s unwillingness to work with a company which promotes a strong Christian message. “I want to bring this back up because it’s the right thing to do,” stated Brockhouse.
With a 6-5 decision on April 18th, the council voted not to reconsider their decision and the die was cast for a lawsuit by Paxton who opened his investigation into the city on March 28, 2019. It remains to be seen what effect this investigation will have upon the council’s decision as well as their relation with the state’s Attorney General.