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In a victory for religious freedom, Chick-fil-A now is cleared for takeoff in terms of opening a restaurant at San Antonio International Airport.
Last year, the San Antonio City Council banned the popular fast-food chain famous for its chicken sandwich and waffle fries from the premises because of its alleged “anti-LGBTQ behavior.” The Federal Aviation Administration has now overruled local officials thanks to the intervention of Ken Paxton, the state’s GOP attorney general.
AG Paxton explained on Fox & Friends after San Antonio that his office took action, including contacting the FAA (which is housed within the U.S. Transportation Department) when the city decided to deny a lease to Chick-fil-A because of the company’s support of the Salvation Army and other organizations.
“We started our investigation. We asked the FAA, actually the Department of Transportation, to investigate, and the result was they came back recently with a letter to us and telling us that they were offering, that now San Antonio was offering, a lease to Chick-fil-A.”
Paxton explained that the ruling sets an enormously important nationwide precedent for protecting freedom of religion.
“It wasn’t just one restaurant and one airport in San Antonio. If this was allowed to occur, then this could happen all over the country. City councils, or other governmental entities, just could decide they didn’t like your personal views on whatever related to your religious faith, to stop you from having your business. That is a violation of our First Amendment rights.
“So if we stop it now, then it allows other restaurants and other business owners to continue to have their own personal religious views and not be affected by government telling them that they can’t do something.”
(Source: Fox News)
The federal government’s power of the purse may have played a major role in the outcome.
The Texas attorney general further outlined the constitutional implications in San Antonio:
“It’s broad view that the Constitution under the First Amendment allows people the free exercise of their religious faith and that means business owners as well. But also under federal law, and under the transportation guidelines, you can’t discriminate based on religious views as well. So that’s why we were asking the Department of Transportation to look at this, because they control funding for airports, and obviously they regulate those airports.
“So we asked them to review that, asked them to consider whether there was a violation of First Amendment rights and the Constitution and guidelines of the Transportation Department. And they found there clearly were. And fortunately, the city agreed to backtrack and give Chick-fil-A a lease opportunity.”
In August, a Texas appeals court denied a legal challenge to the City Council decision by conservative activists, but this latest development presumably resolves the matter.
Under the First Amendment, it is unconstitutional for governmental entities to prohibit the free exercise of religion, although the application of that provision, especially in SJW enclaves, has prompted controversies and legal hassles throughout the U.S.
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