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Austin TX Business Law Blog

Thursday, August 8, 2019

“Save Chick-fil-A” Bill Signed into Law by Texas Governor

Austin Business Law Attorney

The successes, failures, and challenges of a business can be caused by many different things. Sometimes the core values of a business or those who own and manage the business help promote the popularity of a business. However, sometimes they cause some contention and negative publicity. 

For instance, the ever popular Atlanta-based fast food chain, Chick-fil-A, has made the news several times regarding the religious ideals held by the company founder, Baptist S. Truett Cathy, and his son, Dan Cathy. The son has made public comments regarding his stance on gay marriage and telling the Baptist Press in 2012 that he supported what he referred to as the “biblical definition of the family.” This type of public statement garnered both outcry and support. It also risked some of Chick-Fil-A’s potential business opportunities. 

“Save Chick-Fil-A” Bill Signed into Law by Texas Governor

Texas Governor Abbott recently signed the “Chick-fil-A” bill into law. The bill essentially bars the government or government entities from taking “adverse” actions against companies or individuals based on religious beliefs. This bill, Senate bill 1978, started as a response to a situation in San Antonio where the San Antonio City Council voted in March to reject the proposed installation of a Chick-Fil-A restaurant at the municipal airport. The meeting minutes of that council vote include concerns from a council member that disapproved of the proposal because of Chick-Fil-A’s history of anti-LGBTQ behavior. 

Those criticizing the San Antonio City Council’s rejection of the proposed Chick-Fil-A restaurant at the municipal airport claims the rejection ran afoul of the First Amendment. The same year that Dan Cathy, son of Chick-Fil-A’s founder, voiced his support for the “biblical definition of the family,” the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that challenged the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). DOMA was struck down, in part, by the court in 2013. The court rejected the part of the federal law that defined marriage as something that could only be between a man and a woman.

In addition to Cathy’s remarks regarding marriage, the Chick-Fil-A Foundation has a history of donating to organizations that some view as anti-LGBTQ or opposed to same-sex marriage. The company maintains that its support of these organizations is not done with any intention of “suppressing a group of people.” LGBTQ have continued to speak out against Chick-Fil-A and boycott the restaurant. Despite this, Chick-Fil-A has grown to be a force to be reckoned with in the fast food world. It is now considered to be the third largest restaurant chain in the U.S., according to Nation’s Restaurant News. With $10.46 billion in annual U.S. sales, only McDonald’s and Starbucks outsell it.

Texas Business Law Attorney

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