Texas AG Files Suit Over Chick-fil-A's Exclusion From Airport

Chick Fil A
Getty Images
June 3, 2019

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a suit Monday against San Antonio over the city's decision to exclude Chick-fil-A from its airport and to compel the city to hand over documents related to its decision.

Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a petition in Travis County District Court as part of his office's investigation into the exclusion of the fast-food chain. His office has been investigating since March what he claims is discrimination against Chick-fil-A.

Paxton's office made a public records request to the city on April 11, requesting communications between councilmembers, city employees and third parties that discussed Chick-fil-A. His request also asked for calendars, records of councilmember meetings, and any internal communications among city employees on Chick-fil-A.

The city refused to comply with the request claiming an exemption to disclose the documents.

The Public Information Act ensures that "the people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know," the attorney general's office said in a media release. "Nevertheless, the city of San Antonio has refused to comply with the Office of the Attorney General's investigation, instead claiming an exemption to disclosure."

"The City of San Antonio claims that it can hide documents because it anticipates being sued," Paxton said. "But we've simply opened an investigation using the Public Information Act. 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."

Members of the City Council who initiated the decision to exclude Chick-fil-A did not attempt to hide their discriminatory motives, according to Paxton's office. One said the company was out of line with "our core values as a city" and another said it was a "symbol of hate."

In a motion to ban the company one city councilman 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," reported News4Antonio.

The FAA has also opened up its own investigation into the banning of the fast-food chain in the San Antonio airport and at a Buffalo, N.Y., airport.