San Antonio banned Chick-fil-A from opening in its airport, because of the restaurant chain’s history of making donations to anti-LGBTQ causes. The problem with this move is,
- Like most airports in the U.S. (but not across the world) the San Antonio airport is a government body, and this is viewpoint-specific discrimination. That’s a first amendment problem.
- The first amendment violation runs afoul of covenants the airport enters into in exchange for federal grant money.
The city council didn’t much care about the constitutional issue. They were spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees tying that up in the courts. But when the FAA came calling on the grant issue the city started discussions about opening a Chick-fil-A in the airport after all.
In the end though the city is going to get its way – no Chick-fil-A in the airport – but not because they’re expressing equality principles (they caved on those) but because Chick-fil-A said buzz off.
“We are always evaluating potential new locations in the hopes of serving existing and new customers great food with remarkable service.” Chick-fil-A said in a statement. “While we are not pursuing a location in the San Antonio airport at this time, we are grateful for the opportunity to serve San Antonians in our 32 existing restaurants.”
Who needs revenue licensing a location at the San Antonio airport? They’re a $4 billion (revenue) company and this isn’t Atlanta, Chicago O’Hare, or Newark.