The council voted 6-4 to exclude Chick-fil-A due to the company’s alleged prejudice against the LGBTQ community. In 2012, CEO Dan Cathy was denounced by LGBTQ groups for saying he approved of “the biblical definition of the family unit,” or that marriage is only between a man and woman.
Chick-fil-A was proposed to be included in a restaurant and concession space run by airport concessionaire Paradies Lagardère. The concessionaire’s contract was for 10,000 square feet food and concession space, which would have included a Chick-fil-A and a Smoke Shack, as well as a San Antonio Spurs retail store, coffee shop, and bar. The Chick-fil-A would have used 658 square feet and taken the place of Raising Cane’s, another chicken restaurant chain.
The restaurant’s lease would have started on Jan. 1, 2020. The Chick-fil-A would have paid $366,507 in annual rent to the city as part of an agreement that the company pays $2.165 million in annual rent, per the concessionaire contract. Chick-fil-A would have also paid 10 percent of annual gross receipts to San Antonio.
“With this decision, the City Council reaffirmed the work our city has done to become a champion of equality and inclusion,” Councilman Roberto Treviño—who voted no—said in a statement on Friday. “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.”
He continued, “Everyone has a place here, and everyone should feel welcome when they walk through our airport,” adding, “I look forward to the announcement of a suitable replacement by Paradies.”
Chick-fil-A released a statement to San Antonio ABC affiliate KSAT. “This is the first we’ve heard of this. It’s disappointing," the statement read. “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.”
Earlier this week, ThinkProgress reported that Chick-fil-A had contributed $1.8 million to anti-LGBTQ conservative groups, including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, in 2017.
Chick-fil-A was founded in 1946 by the current CEO’s father, S. Truett Cathy and operates over 2,000 restaurants in the U.S.