Two major U.S. airports might soon regret their decision to ban the popular fast-food chain Chick-fil-A after the Federal Aviation Administration announced an investigation into the matter, based on a discrimination complaint.
According to Fox News, the FAA will be exploring why San Antonio International in Texas and Buffalo Niagara International in New York prevented Chick-fil-A — known for its commitment to traditional Christian values — from opening locations in the airports.
The investigation was launched after the FAA received complaints of religious discrimination from First Liberty, a law firm specializing in religious freedom cases.
“The Department of Transportation has received complaints alleging discrimination by two airport operators against a private company due to the expression of the owner’s religious beliefs,” the FAA said in a statement to Fox News.
The problem is simple: Taxpayer-funded airports can’t discriminate against a private business for religious reasons. Private airports essentially can do as they please, but the San Antonio and Buffalo Niagara airports received federal dollars.
“The FAA notes that federal requirements prohibit airport operators from excluding persons on the basis of religious creed from participating in airport activities that receive or benefit from FAA grant funding,” the agency said.
In the case of San Antonio International, Chick-fil-A was rejected narrowly based on its supposed “legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior.”
The move was pushed by a liberal city councilman.
A Democratic state assemblyman was primarily responsible for excluding Chick-fil-A from Buffalo Niagara International after exerting pressure and accusing the chicken chain of being an “anti-LGBTQ corporation.”
One would think that airport lawyers — who presumably sign off on decisions like these — would have a better understanding of the rules regarding federally funded airports.
First Liberty Associate Counsel Keisha Russell slammed the San Antonio airport for “blatant, illegal, religious discrimination.”
“We are pleased that the FAA responded to our request by opening an investigation into San Antonio,” she said in a statement.
“We are pleased that the FAA responded to our request by opening an investigation into San Antonio for its blatant, illegal religious discrimination against Chick-fil-A” – Keisha Russell, @1stLiberty associate counsel. @FoxNews has full story: https://t.co/e2di8RDbrt
— First Liberty (@1stLiberty) May 25, 2019
Thankfully, First Liberty and other groups fight to protect religious freedom exist — and it appears that they are not messing around.
“American business owners should not have to suffer because they want to operate their businesses in accordance with their religious beliefs,” Russell said. “Few things are more un-American than government hostility against religion.”
Chick-fil-A said in a statement to Fox News that it’s not involved in the FAA investigation and just wants to serve good food and take care of its customers.
“Chick-fil-A is not involved in this investigation,” the Atlanta-based company said. “Recent coverage about our company continues to drive an inaccurate narrative about who we are. We are a restaurant company focused on food and hospitality for all, and we have no social or political stance.”
If there’s a bright side to this situation, it’s that we finally have an administration willing to investigate such unfair practices at a federal level, which should be nothing less than eye-opening for other entities considering taking similar actions against private companies.
If these airports are OK with pocketing federal funds, they had better learn to follow the established rules against religious discrimination.
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