San Antonio removes Chick-fil-A from airport concessions deal over company’s anti-LGBTQ giving

ThinkProgress reported earlier this week that the company's foundation gave $1.8 million to discriminatory groups in 2017.

San Antonio City Councilman Roberto Treviño
San Antonio City Councilman Roberto Treviño (CREDIT: campaign website screenshot)

The San Antonio City Council, on a 6-4 vote, removed a planned Chick-fil-A location from an airport concession agreement on Thursday, after a councilman flagged the company’s anti-LGBTQ activity.

Local media reported that the move followed a ThinkProgress report on Wednesday which noted the company’s foundation gave $1.8 million in 2017 to tax exempt groups with anti-LGBTQ records.

The council was considering a seven-year concession agreement for the San Antonio International Airport with Paradies Lagardère, a travel retail company. The agreement, which was up for approval at Thursday’s meeting, originally included 985 square feet for a Chick-fil-A location. District 1 Councilman Roberto Treviño successfully proposed an amendment to remove the controversial company from the agreement and the amended version was adopted. He specifically cited Chick-fil-A’s anti-LGBTQ record as the reason for the amendment.


“With this decision, the City Council reaffirmed the work our city has done to become a champion of equality and inclusion,” Treviño explained in a statement. “San Antonio is a city full of compassion, and we do not have room in our public facilities for a business with a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior. Everyone has a place here, and everyone should feel welcome when they walk through our airport. I look forward to the announcement of a suitable replacement by Paradies.”

As ThinkProgress reported earlier this week, Chick-fil-A has sought to downplay its anti-LGBTQ record since the company’s CEO Dan Cathy made comments in 2012 suggesting that America is “inviting God’s judgment” by embracing same-sex marriage and that the company was “guilty as charged” of having anti-equality positions.

But despite reportedly promising last year to halt donations to causes considered “offensive,” its foundation has continued to fund anti-LGBTQ groups and the company remains one of a few with a zero rating from the Human Rights Campaign and a corporate employment non-discrimination policy that does not include sexual orientation or gender identity.

“I want the first thing [a visitor to] see is a San Antonio that is welcoming and that they not see…a symbol of hate,” Councilman Manny Pelaez said, explaining his support for the amendment.

In a statement, Chick-fil-A told a local NBC affiliate that it was disappointed in the decision. “We would have liked to have had a dialogue with the city council before this decision was made. We agree with Councilmember Treviño that everyone is and should feel welcome at Chick-fil-A. We plan to reach out to the city council to gain a better understanding of this decision.”


The company has frequently emphasized that LGBTQ people are “welcome” to purchase food at the restaurant, but has not said that they are welcome to work there.

Elsewhere in Texas, activists also denounced the Chick-fil-A Foundation’s continued anti-LGBTQ giving. Mike Hendrix of the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce told a local CBS affiliate on Thursday that it was “absolutely unacceptable.”

“And as we heard a year ago, they said they were going to scale back on that — on those donations and their discriminatory behavior — and as we see today, unfortunately, that has not happened. They’ve actually scaled that up,” he said. “I don’t care how good the product is, I’m not — as a gay man — going to spend my money there.”

On Tuesday, Chick-fil-A, Inc. said the company had made a decision in 2017 to no longer contribute to the Paul Anderson Youth Home. “In 2017, a decision was made by the Chick-fil-A Foundation to no longer donate to the group after a blog post from 2010 surfaced that does not meet Chick-fil-A’s commitment to creating a welcoming environment to all,” the company told ThinkProgress.

The company has not said if it will cease donations to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes or Salvation Army. It said contributions to those groups had been used to support summer sports camps and various children’s programs, respectively.