In recent years, chick-fil-a restaurants have been banned from campuses and airports. The campaign kicked off in 2012 after public comments against same-sex marriage by Dan Cathy, the company's CEO, and the disclosure that Chick-fil-A's nonprofit arm, the S. Truett Cathy-operated WinShape Foundation, held millions of dollars in respect Organizations has donated as hostile to LGBT rights. As someone who has supported same-sex marriage and LGBT rights for decades, I have expressed my concern about freedom of speech and movement in these campaigns. Now Fox reports that the Federal Aviation Administration ordered San Antonio to offer the popular restaurant a lease at its airport after concluding that the city fined the company for the religious beliefs of its management.
The city council denied the fast food operator a lease at the airport despite being one of the most popular restaurants. Mayor Ron Nirenberg and five council members voted to approve the concession agreement with Paradies Lagardère on the condition that Chick-fil-A be removed from its restaurants. Four councilors disagreed and one abstained.
The company has argued that it complied with state discrimination and workplace laws, and that these campaigns raged after its CEO used his freedom of speech to express his view on same-sex marriage.
The FAA announced its investigation last May after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton requested an investigation into a "possible violation of federal law."
Once again, I totally disagree with Cathy's views. However, if the company commits unlawful discrimination, it can be charged and held accountable. The campus campaigns are specifically linked to the controversy over Cathy's comments. It was one of the earliest examples of the "culture of cancellation" and intolerance of opposing views.
This is a rare move by the FAA, and it will be interesting to see if San Antonio continues litigation. The problem, however, is that the balance sheet for the city is poor, given the statements by Nirenberg and others. The move was popular in retaliation against Cathy for his statements. That record is now combined with the possible use of chevron homage from an agency decision. San Antonio would be best placed to finalize the lease and allow the market to direct any consumer objections against the owners or management of the business.