The San Antonio City Council voted 6-4 last week in favor of a concessions plan designating new restaurants and businesses in the airport. Eateries like Smoke Shack BBQ and Boss Wood Fired Bagels and Coffee were included in the plan, which was approved March 21. And while a Chick-fil-A franchise was included in earlier plans, it was noticeably absent from the final version.
The Georgia-based fast food chain has long stoked controversy over its acknowledged financial support of anti-LGBTQ organizations, which at one point reportedly included Exodus International and the Family Research Council. The privately owned company pledged not to “have a political or social agenda” after its billionaire CEO, Dan Cathy, stoked outrage and a boycott in 2012 when he publicly decried same-sex marriage.
Obtained by ThinkProgress last week, Chick-fil-A’s tax findings tell a different story. In 2017, the company donated $9.9 million to charity, of which roughly $1.8 million went to groups known to discriminate against LGBTQ people, according to the report.
In a statement, San Antonio Councilman Roberto Treviño confirmed that Chick-fil-A’s ties to anti-LGBTQ organizations were a factor in the council’s decision to reject the fast-food chain.
“With this decision, the City Council reaffirmed the work our city has done to become a champion of equality and inclusion,” Treviño said. “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.”
“Everyone has a place here, and everyone should feel welcome when they walk through our airport,” he added.
Chick-fil-A spokeswoman Leigh Jackson responded to the news with a statement issued to USA Today and a number of other outlets. Treviño’s March 21 statement “was the first we heard of his motion and its approval by the San Antonio City Council,” she wrote.
“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,” she continued. “In fact, we have welcomed everyone in San Antonio into our 32 local stores for more than 40 years.”
Chick-fil-A, Jackson added, “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.”