The ban on a Chick-fil-A at the San Antonio Airport has prompted calls for a U.S. investigation.
According to USA Today, a legal group called the First Liberty Institute issued a letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao alleging that it believes San Antonio City Council members may have engaged in "religious discrimination" when making the decision to not allow the fast food chain to set up shop in the airport.
The city council denied the request due to concerns over the company contributing "charitable donations" to organizations that are anti-LGBTQ.
"San Antonio should welcome the opportunity to add so popular and successful a restaurant as Chick-fil-A to its airport food offerings, not discriminate against it because the City Council disapproves of its charitable choices," First Liberty Institute wrote in its letter to Chao.
The letter from the group singles out many of the council members, saying, "Councilman Roberto Treviño moved to approve the agreement with Paradies on the express condition that Chick-fil-A be excluded from the contract."
Councilman Manny Pelaez was also challenged, with the group accusing him of spending time to "lambaste, denigrate, and openly mock the otherwise upstanding corporate citizen of Chick-fil-A," while the council debated the request.
"He described Chick-fil-A as a 'symbol of hate' because it has donated to religious charities that he considered to oppose LGBTQ rights," the group stated.
The Chick-fil-A Foundation previously released a statement on the accusations that they are anti-LGBTQ, stating firmly that they “do not have a political or social agenda.”
“Our intention both at the corporate and restaurant level is to have a positive influence on our communities by donating to programs that benefit youth and education and are welcoming to all,” Rodney Bullard, the Chick-fil-A Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility and the Executive Director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation, said in the statement. “We are proud of the impact we’ve been able to make so far, and we have a lot yet to do.”
“We have no policy of discrimination against any group. We do not have a political or social agenda and more than 120,000 people from different backgrounds and beliefs represent the Chick-fil-A brand,” Bullard's statement concluded.
More recently the company issued a new statement, saying, "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."0comments
"In fact, we have welcomed everyone in San Antonio into our 32 local stores for more than 40 years," Chick-fil-A added in their new statement.
There is currently no word on if Chao will take action on the request for an investigation from First Liberty Institute.