"Save Chick-fil-A law" in Texas bans anti-religious actions

By Kate Gibson

/ MoneyWatch

When Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill banning government entities from taking "adverse actions" against companies or people on the basis of their religious beliefs, he clearly had one business in mind. Chick-fil-A cups and a sandwich box flanked the governor as he signed the "Save Chick-fil-A" bill into law on Thursday.

"Discrimination is not tolerated in Texas," Abbott said.

The new law came about as state lawmakers sought to override an action by the San Antonio City Council in March, which voted against a Chick-fil-A restaurant at the municipal airport, citing the company's "legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior."

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"No business should be discriminated against simply because its owners gave to a church, or to the Salvation Army, or to any other religious organization. No business should lose a government contract because of their religious beliefs," Abbott said. "The 'Save Chick-fil-A' legislation that I'm about to sign is a victory for religious freedom in Texas."

The Republican governor reiterated the sentiments in a tweet Thursday night, writing: "Texas protects religious liberty."

Today I signed the ⁦@ChickfilA⁩ law in Texas.

And, had a great lunch.

No business should be discriminated against simply because its owners donate to a church, the Salvation Army, or other religious organization.

Texas protects religious liberty. pic.twitter.com/1QwSTuoWu0

— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) July 19, 2019

Democrats in Texas tried unsuccessfully to derail or amend the bill, which they described as giving Texans the right to assert their faith in order to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The infamous "bathroom bill"

The bill revived the divisiveness that took place in the Lone Star State two years ago with the failed but infamous "bathroom bill," which would have required transgender Texans to use the bathroom that matches their birth certificates rather than their gender identity.

At the time of the San Antonio vote, Chick-fil-A said it wished it had been given the chance to "clarify misperceptions" ahead of the council's meeting. "Chick-fil-A embraces all people, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity," the company stated.

The private company, which is known for its chicken sandwiches and for being closed on Sundays, has frequently faced a backlash for its conservative Christian leanings, which have included donations to anti-LGBTQ organizations. Its president, Dan Cathy, voiced support for "the biblical definition of the family unit" in 2012.

A Chick-fil-A spokesperson on Friday said the company would have no comment on legislation it had not lobbied either for or against.

First published on July 19, 2019 / 5:46 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

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