June 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against the city of San Antonio on Monday, demanding it turn over records related to its decision in March to exclude Chick-fil-A from Texas’s San Antonio International Airport.
The Christian-owned food chain was one of several vendors the company Paradies Lagardère proposed adding to the airport’s Terminal A, but the city council voted down its inclusion 6-4, with Councilman Roberto Treviño accusing the company of a “legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior” and claiming that its mere presence would harm travelers’ ability to “feel welcome when they walk through our airport.”
Like many liberals, the council was retaliating against CEO Dan Cathy’s stated opposition to same-sex “marriage” and the company’s donations to social conservative groups such as Family Research Council and Focus on the Family. Despite pro-LGBT activists’ insinuations that the company’s values translate to “excluding” or otherwise mistreating anyone, many homosexual employees and customers have attested to positive, welcoming experiences with Chick-fil-A.
In response, Paxton sent letters to the city council announcing that he has “directed my office to open an investigation into whether the City’s action violates state law,” as well as to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao requesting that her department investigate whether the decision “violates various federal statutes and regulations to which the City is subject as a recipient of Department of Transportation grant funds,” which have among their conditions a ban on discrimination against religious creed.
The Department of Transportation announced last month that it is looking into the matter, and now Paxton’s office has followed up by seeking a court order for records the city has previously refused to provide, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
“The City of San Antonio claims that it can hide documents because it anticipates being sued,” Paxton said in a press release. “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.”
The lawsuit argues that the city has an obligation to turn over the records because the state’s Public Information Act dictates that “each person is entitled, unless otherwise expressly provided by law, at all times to complete information about the affairs of government and the official acts of public officials and employees.”
“It is clear from the strident comments in his press release that any ‘investigation’ would be a pretense to justify his own conclusions,” San Antonio City Attorney Andy Segovia responded. The city also argues that Paxton’s suit is premature because the state’s Open Records Division has not yet rendered its verdict on the validity of the city’s exemption claim.
As the investigations and legal wrangling continue, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign recently-passed legislation forbidding government from taking “any adverse action” against individuals or businesses on the basis of their religious beliefs, dubbed the “Save Chick-fil-A bill.”