Governor Abbott Tweets Support After Texas House Passes Save Chick-Fil-A Bill

Chris Fox
May 22, 2019 - 7:44 am
Chick-fil-a

Credit: Josh Clark, 1080 KRLD

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The Texas House on Tuesday passed Senate Bill 1978 (SB 1978) by a vote of 79-to-64. The controversial bill would prevent governments from penalizing people or companies based on their religious affiliations.

The legislation was inspired by actions taken by the San Antonio City Council back in March to block fast-food chain Chick-Fil-A from setting up in the San Antonio airport. The House sponsor of the Senate bill, State Representative Matt Krause argued for the bill on the House floor. “Senate Bill 1978 is to ensure that the government will not penalize somebody just because of their affiliation with, a donation to a religious organization, as we’ve seen in San Antonio with the City Council denying a contract to Chick-Fil-A cause they happen to donate to the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.”

When the City Council debated the Chick-Fil-A application council members voiced their concern about the fast-food chain’s position on marriage equality. 2017 tax filings show the Chick-Fil-A Foundation donated more than $1.8 million to three groups with anti-LGBT policies.

Democratic State Representative Richard Raymond spoke out on the House Floor against SB 1978 questioning the bill’s supporters’ assertion that the Chick-Fil-A airport application was rejected due to the restaurant’s connection to the anti-LGBT organizations. Raymond said the reason the San Antonio City Council didn’t approve the application was because they don’t open on Sundays. “At the end of the day, and officially that’s why they did it. Now, in addition to that, a couple of those council members had personal views about Chick-Fil-A because of their personal views. But the fact is they did not get the contract in San Antonio because they don’t open on Sunday.” Raymond added that 17-percent of the San Antonio Airport traffic goes through on Sundays.

State House Democratic Caucus Chair Chris Turner also weighed in on the legislation arguing that it was not necessary. While addressing State Representative Matt Krause he explained how the religious beliefs of people and companies are already covered under the US Constitution saying “The First Amendment to the United States Constitution has protected the freedom of religion, the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the freedom of the right for people to peaceably assemble and right to petition their government. It is a model across the world.”  

Governor Abbott Tweeted his support for the legislation upon second reading approval on Monday. It read: “So. What are the odds I’ll sign the Chick-fil-A bill? I’ll let you know after dinner.”

The Texas House added an amendment to the bill prior to passing, meaning it will have to return to the State Senate for its approval before Governor Abbott can sign it into law.