Law Firm: If San Antonio Wants to Ban Chick-fil-A, the City Should Be Ineligible for Federal Grants

People walk past a new Chick-fil-A restaurant, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015 in New York. The Atlanta-based privately held franchise company has more than 1900 restaurants in 41 states and Washington, D.C. The New York franchise, located a few blocks from Times Square, opens Saturday, Oct. 3, marking its push to become a bigger national player. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
People walk past a new Chick-fil-A restaurant, Thurs., Oct. 1, 2015 in NY. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

After the San Antonio City Council effectively banned Chick-fil-A from opening up a restaurant in the city’s airport for the next seven years, a law firm that specializes in religious rights cases is calling for an investigation.


The USA Today reports:

On Thursday, the First Liberty Institute sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao alleging that “religious discrimination” may have been made by members of the City Council of San Antonio during discussions to block the restaurant chain from the revamped Texas airport.


“San Antonio should welcome the opportunity to add so popular and successful a restaurant as Chick-fil-A to its airport food offerings, not discriminate against it because the City Council disapproves of its charitable choices,” the legal organization wrote in the letter to Chao.

The vote to ban Chick-fil-A from the airport came just days after a report released from the liberal group Think Progress detailed the restaurant’s 2017 charitable contributions to religious organizations.

There is no question that the city voted to exclude Chick-fil-A because of the religious beliefs of the restaurant chain. Some council members said as much the day they took the vote:

The legal institute also challenged Councilman Manny Pelaez‘s statements, saying that he took a significant amount of time to “lambaste, denigrate, and openly mock the otherwise upstanding corporate citizen of Chick-fil-A,” during the debate on the pending agreement.

“He described Chick-fil-A as a ‘symbol of hate’ because it has donated to religious charities that he considered to oppose LGBTQ rights,” the letter said.


The full letter that First Liberty sent to Secretary Chao and U.S. Attorney Gen. William Barr can be read here. In it, they also say that in discriminating against Chick-fil-A that the city of San Antonio has made themselves ineligible for federal grants:

The San Antonio City Council engaged in unconstitutional religious discrimination making them ineligible for federal grants.

Federal taxpayers should not be required to subsidize religious bigotry. The San Antonio City Council may spend its taxpayer dollars as its citizens will tolerate. However, it cannot do so in a way that brazenly violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Federal law. Here, the City of San Antonio appears to have openly engaged in religious discrimination, likely forfeiting their eligibility for Federal grant money, whether from the Department of Transportation or other Federal agencies.

It doesn’t appear that the law firm is officially representing Chick-fil-A. This is more or less a statement of support for their religious rights.

First Liberty has handled a number of high-profile cases, including the Sweet Cakes by Melissa case out of Oregon and the case out of Washington state where high school football assistant coach Joe Kennedy was fired by a school district for saying a prayer after football games. President Trump cited the case during his 2016 campaign.


Read about the cases they are currently fighting and cases that they’ve won here.

Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter.–



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