86th LegislatureIssuesLocal NewsPolitical Animosity Toward Chick-fil-A Impacts San Antonio Mayoral Race

The decision by the San Antonio City Council to punish Chick-Fil-A for its Christian beliefs is factoring into the mayoral race.
April 19, 2019
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As the mayoral race for San Antonio approaches, the city council has remained in the national news cycle following its March 21 vote to exclude Chick-fil-A as a food vendor from the San Antonio International Airport.

At the time, Councilman Robert Trevino remarked that: “With this decision, the City Council reaffirmed the work our city has done to become a champion of equality and inclusion. 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.”

Vocal opposition came from a number of Texas political leaders. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), Congressman Chip Roy (R-TX-21), and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton all took to social media to express their disagreement with the City Council motion. Rep. Roy responded with a letter to the San Antonio City Council which stated in part:

“To be clear:

– Operating a company according to Christian values is not bigoted, nor is it discriminatory;

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– Donating to charities that support Christian athletes is not bigoted, nor is it discriminatory;

– Supporting the Salvation Army and other charitable groups that adhere to Christian values is not bigoted, nor is it discriminatory;

– Having views of marriage that are based in biblical doctrine while promising to make every customer feel ‘welcome’ who walks in the door is not bigoted, nor is it discriminatory.”

On April 18, the San Antonio City Council denied mayoral contender Greg Brockhouse’s proposal to revisit the decision that excluded Chick-fil-A from the San Antonio International Airport.

Brockhouse had dozens of supporters standing in the council chambers, but the motion to revisit the Chick-Fil-A decision was voted down by a narrow 6-5 majority.

Two city councilmen that initially supported excluding Chick-fil-A sided with Councilman Brockhouse. Councilman Manny Pelaez was one who said he regretted his original comments about Chick-fil-A’s record, and Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran, who abstained from the first vote, gave her support to the April 18 motion as well.

The deciding vote came from an opponent of the original resolution, Councilman Art Hall, who disapproved the idea of revisiting resolutions that the council had previously determined.

In response to the San Antonio City Council’s actions, including news that they are being pulled from Buffalo Niagara International Airport, Chick-fil-A released the following statement:

“Recent coverage about Chick-fil-A continues to drive an inaccurate narrative about our brand. We do not have a political or social agenda or discriminate against any group. More than 145,000 people from different backgrounds and beliefs represent the Chick-fil-A brand. We embrace all people, regardless of religion, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The general election for the Mayor of San Antonio is May 4, 2019. The top two candidates are current Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Councilman Greg Brockhouse.

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Tony Guajardo

Tony Guajardo is a reporter for The Texan. He has been involved in politics since the fall of 2012 when he served as an intern for the now-retired U.S. Congressman Charlie Gonzalez (D-San Antonio). He is a native of Fort Worth, Texas and graduated from Texas A&M University.