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'Save Chick-fil-A' bill heads to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's desk

The bill would prevent the government from refusing to do business with companies based on their support for religious organizations

David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The "Save Chick-fil-A" bill passed both houses of the Texas Legislature Monday. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign it when it reaches his desk.

What's the background?

On March 21, the San Antonio City Council blocked Chick-fil-A from opening a franchise location in the city's airport.

"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," Councilman Robert Treviño told KTSA-FM.

One of the criticisms brought up against Chick-fil-A by the city council was that its foundation had donated in the past to groups, including the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, that had policies in place that professed traditional views on marriage.

In 2012, the restaurant chain came under fire for saying that CEO Dan Cathy personally opposed same-sex marriage, prompting boycotts of the company by pro-LGBT groups.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced March 28 that he would be investigating the city council's decision. He tweeted that he thought the move was "discriminatory" along with a picture of Chick-fil-A waffle fries and the slogan "COME AND TAKE IT" on a flag. That particular slogan and flag refers to the Battle of Gonzales during the Texas Revolution, when Texans refused to turn over a cannon to the Mexican army.

What happened with this bill?

On Monday, the bill passed the state Senate by a vote of 79 to 62, with two senators abstaining. Although it has come to be known by the monicker "Save Chick-Fil-A," Senate Bill 1978 was filed a few weeks before the San Antonio City Council announced its decision regarding the restaurant.

Texas state Rep. Matt Krause (R), who sponsored the bill in the state House, said that it will prevent the government from treating companies like Chick-fil-A unfairly.

"What we want to make sure is if you donate to the Salvation Army, you won't be labeled as a bigoted," he told the Dallas Morning News.

But Rep. Julie Johnson (D) said the bill sends a message that "poisons this state," adding, "It sends a message that Texas is not open and welcoming to all. It puts Texas on the wrong side of history."

What happens now?

The last step before the bill heads to Abbott's desk will be a Senate vote on an amendment to the bill from the Texas state House. Once it reaches him, Abbott, a staunch conservative, is expected to sign the bill into law.

On March 28, Abbott tweeted that he thought San Antonio's ban "has the stench of religious discrimination against Chick-fil-A."

One last thing…
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