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Judge rules against City of San Antonio, grants Chick-fil-A airport lawsuit to move forward

Chick-fil-A debuts gluten-free buns at its restaurants, like this one in the Richmond, Virginia, metro area. (Photo: KTSA/Dennis Foley)

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — A lawsuit against the City of San Antonio over its 2019 banning of Chick-fil-A from the San Antonio International Airport has been permitted to move forward, plaintiffs say.

San Antonio Family Association — whose members are plaintiffs in the case — said a Bexar County district judge ruled Thursday that  the case may proceed.

The suit was filed last September by five San Antonio residents under Texas’ new “Chick-fil-A law” that prevents government entities from barring companies from municipal contracts because on the basis of religious beliefs.

The plaintiffs want the courts to order the city to put a Chick-fil-A in the airport, as was originally presented to the city council by airport staff.

The city tried to argue in court that the plaintiffs could not apply the newly passed law retroactively.  The city banned Chick-fil-A from the airport last March, Senate Bill 1978 was enacted later in the year.  The plaintiffs filed their suit in September.

Per the San Antonio Family Association:

“In September 2019, five residents of the San Antonio area sued the city under this new statute, and are seeking an injunction that would require the city to install a Chick-fil-A restaurant at the San Antonio airport, consistent with the original plan proposed by SAT Airport concessionaire, Paradies Lagardère.”

A judge rejected the city’s argument.

“This is a major win for religious liberty and for the rule of law,” says lead plaintiff Patrick Von Dohlen. “Senate Bill 1978 clearly and unequivocally prohibits the continued exclusion of Chick-fil-A from the San Antonio airport. We’re grateful Judge Canales rejected the city’s efforts to dismiss the lawsuit.”

“In an effort to protect, defend and promote the family, this is a significant ruling,” adds Plaintiff Michael Knuffke. “The merits of this case will foster the protection of a person, business and business owner’s liberty.”

A city attorney called the ruling disappointing, according to SAFA.


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