FAA Reportedly Rules For Chick-Fil-A Over San Antonio Airport Concession

In the last few years, Chick-fil-A restaurants have been banned from campuses and airports.  The campaign started in 2012 after public comments opposing same-sex marriage by Dan Cathy, the company’s CEO and the disclosure that that Chick-fil-A’s charitable arm, the S. Truett Cathy-operated WinShape Foundation, donated millions of dollars to organizations viewed as hostile to LGBT rights.  As someone who supported same-sex marriage for decades as well as LGBT rights, I have voiced my concerns over free speech and free exercise in these campaigns.  Now, Fox is reporting that the Federal Aviation Administration has ordered City of San Antonio to offer the popular eatery a lease at its airport after concluding that the city was punishing the company for the religious views of its management.

The City Council denied the fast-food operator a lease at the airport despite being one of the most popular eateries. Mayor Ron Nirenberg and five council members voted to approve the master-concessionaire contract with Paradies Lagardère, on the condition that it dropped Chick-fil-A from its restaurants. Four council members dissented and one abstained.

The company has argued that it has complied with federal discrimination and workplace laws and that these campaigns have raged after its CEO exercised his free speech rights in expressing his view of same sex marriage.

The FAA announced its investigation last May, after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sought the probe over a “potential breach of federal law.”

Once again, I strongly disagree with the views of Cathy.  However, if the company is engaging in unlawful discrimination, it can be charged and held accountable. The campaigns on campuses are expressly linked to the controversy over the comments by Cathy. It was one of the earliest examples of the “cancel culture” and the intolerance for opposing views.

This is a rare move by the FAA and it will be interesting to see if San Antonio litigates this further. However, the problem is that the record is a poor one for the city given the statements of Nirenberg and others. The move was popular as retaliation against Cathy for his statements. That record will now be combined with the possible use of Chevron deference from an agency decision. San Antonio would be best served to give the lease and allow the market to address any consumer objections to the owners or management of the company.






65 thoughts on “FAA Reportedly Rules For Chick-Fil-A Over San Antonio Airport Concession”

  1. Every restaurant in America should have a sign at the door to the female restroom: No Dongs Allowed!
    It will address the transgender thing. And I do mean “thing”.

  2. As a frequent flyer I would much rather eat a Chick-Fil-A than other airport “fine dining” establishments. As a former airport board member, the FAA can and does tie funding for airport infrastructure which includes terminals to non-discriminatory policies.



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  4. The more I read your blog, the more my disdain grows for you. I suppose that your are pro abortion too?

  5. Ever since TSA the Directorate charged with meting out punishment took over ownership of airports, already a sad place to put up with no thanks to CNN, I’ve been wondering what did I do to be punished this way and for so long as I see TSA is still playing KGB. No problem. I don’t fly on cattle cars that process their customers any more. I’m thinking the need to punish someone anyone for 9/11 is it really that great and/or if we won the woar on terror after twenty years why is the Directorate of Internal State Security still drawing paychecks? Ii don’t remember being arrested, charged, convicted nor sentenced from that dark episode.The perps are all dead so why are we who had no part of it still being punished?

  6. Although a strong supporter of LGBT constitutional rights, there may be a bigger constitutional issue here. We rarely see “Mom & Pop” small businesses in airports. Small businesses and micro businesses (sole proprietorships) actually don’t have a “Right-To-Work” in many so-called “Right-To-Work States”. State governed “occupational licensing” laws are many times designed to eliminate healthy competition and some business liability insurance premiums have increased 200% to 500% in just 4 months time while simultaneously reducing coverage – averaging about a net 1500% increase, in 4 months, if you include the loss of insurance coverage. Many state constitutions also protect the right to compete and make a living free of arbitrary regulation that favors bigger businesses. According the U.S. Department of Labor a “self-employed” worker is about 75% safer than an “employee” working for a larger competitor but these owner/operators are being gouged by insurance companies and discriminated by state occupational licensing boards. For example: in Virginia it’s illegal to simply caulk or paint a window sill (non-lead based paint) unless that contractor works for a competing company for 2 years. It’s illegal for a contractor to replace a clothes dryer vent on the outside of a house without 10 years of experience working for an HVAC contractor, although hardware stores sell millions of these vents to amateur-installers every year.

    Why aren’t there more “Mom & Pop” stores allowed to operate in airports? As “corporate-persons” under Citizens United ruling, don’t these “corporate-persons” have rights also?

  7. >> The campaign started in 2012 after public comments opposing same-sex marriage by Dan Cathy <<

    I notice you do not provide Cathy's quotes from 2012 that support your assertion. Probably because they don't exist. His quote from 2012 does not say a single word about opposing homosexual marriage.

    When asked in an interview with a Baptist magazine in 2012 about his support for traditional marriage, he said:

    "Guilty as charged." "We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."

    That's it. That's why the hateful, homosexual extremists and their media allies labeled him an anti-homosexual bigot. That's why the homosexual extremists and their media allies have spent 8 years trying to destroy Chick-Fil-A; ruin the lives of thousands of Chick-Fil-A franchisees and tens of thousands of lower middle class Chick-Fil-A employees.

    All because he said, when asked in 2012, that he supports traditional marriage.

    1. You got it Scott. It’s just like BLM. They try to intimidate people forcing them to say BLM even if they march with BLM. One woman who later admitted to be active with BLM refused to fold under such intimidation.

  8. I presume that the spaces at the airport are currently filled with other vendors. San Antonio has truly screwed itself here. Which vendor is going to be removed so they can comply with the FAA order on Chick-Fil-A? How much compensation will they have to pay that vendor?

    Or, will they generate a new food concession space? Will the location be better or worse than the other ones? More litigation.

    1. I presume that the spaces at the airport are currently filled with other vendors.

      And can be reallocated via auction when the current contracts expire.

      1. It’s different at every airport but I would assume the leases are for more than one year. When one is given a spot one might be spending a good sum on capital improvements based on what type of facility they have so this action can harm innocent vendors that frequently count on their leases being renewed.

        On the other hand with Covid business might not be so good for some vendors and they might want to break their leases or would take a small amount of money to do so.

  9. I am a retired professional pilot and am, or used to be, well familiar with FAA regulations. Since when does the FAA have any authority over airport terminal buildings? They are locally administered. The role of the FAA is to oversee the airport itself, of which the terminal is NOT a part. Personally, I think the San Antonio government officials are nuts. There are Chick-Fil-As all over Texas and they are very popular INCLUDING WITH GAYS! So what that Truett Cathy was a Christian and believed the Bible as is his son Dan? His facilities never discriminated in any way. By the way, how a person who claims to be Catholic – or any other form of Christianity – can ignore scripture while claiming to be a Christian is beyond me. There is a word that describes them – hypocrite. The San Antonio Airport controversy is solely political. Like Houston and Dallas, San Antonio is run by Democrats and they used their power to discriminate against a company that DOES NOT discriminate.

    1. I haven’t researched the details, so this is just a first guess. Most airports seek federal funds (aviation trust fund, matching grants, etc.) for most improvements and expansions. For example, the San Antonio airport has received at least $16 million in grants from the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program within the last six months, and that is just one of the funding sources administered by the FAA. When you take federal grant money, there are rules attached to how it is spent and administered. If they’ve failed to follow the requirements specified in any of their grant funds, they could potentially be on the hook for reimbursement of the grant money. Of course, it won’t be the grand-standing politicians that pay, just the rubes- I mean taxpayers- in San Antonio.

    2. A new -1 might be on order for you. . . As a “professional pilot” you should read Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (U.S. Supreme Court, 2017). As an aircraft maintainer I did. . .

    3. The thing that bothers me about local politicians in San Antonio is they don’t have to list their party affiliation when they run for city office and they have protected the time of year for the election (May June time frame I think) by claiming it would cost to much to coordinate it with State Elections reducing turn out for the vote. We usually find out what we have voted into office after the fact. I assume Dallas and Houston are the same way, not to mention Austin.

  10. I am fine with companies donating to any legal organization it wants, and that should not be reason to bar their otherwise lawful presence on government owned property as vendors or consumers. That’s a free speech issue.

    I o not support the right of companies to discriminate unlawfully – or do anything else unlawfully – based on their belief in imaginary friends or supernatural beings.

    1. I am fine with companies donating to any legal organization it wants, and that should not be reason to bar their otherwise lawful presence on

      You shouldn’t be. The company shouldn’t be appropriating its shareholder’s assets. Any shareholder or employee can donate as an individual and the company can set up federated appeals for convenience. Where is there an indication that corporate funds were used for donations?

  11. There is a women clerk at a restaurant in Boston with a tattoo on her arm which says: ukFay Trump. She is gay. Should she be moved to the kitchen?

  12. Even the bathrooms are clean at Chick-Fill-A in NYC something rarely seen in a lot of fast food places.

    The left is intolerable. Chick-Fill-A doesn’t discriminate and serves superior food with lines waiting to order while in malls all the other stalls have minimal traffic. The left will silence anyone that disagrees with their personal preferences. In that way they are very much like the Gestapo.

    1. Pretty much. No venue of life is to be free from the struggle. No sort of tool to harass the opposition is to be abjured.

      What gets you about liberals is their omnivorous and omnipresent hostility (which they project onto normal people).

      Since this involves public contracting, insisting on viewpoint neutrality is perfectly appropriate, btw. Note, liberals reject freedom-of-contract for everyone in private transactions.

      1. “liberals reject freedom-of-contract for everyone in private transactions.”

        DSS, many Liberals follow Marxist ideology, whether they know it or not. In essence there is no private property in Marxism. Therfore no rejection of freedom-of-contract can occur becasue there isn’t any private property.

        1. Has nothing to do with Marxism. Alvin Gouldner and Thomas Sowell are instructive. Everyone’s business is to be superintended by the Anointed. The dopey MEd’s in the student affairs apparat who tell evengelical student groups that a requirement that their president be an evangelical not in gross disobedience is impermissble know nothing of Marxism. They do know the tropes of liberal discourse, and cannot think outside the little boxes they’ve climbed into.

          1. “Has nothing to do with Marxism… know nothing of Marxism.”

            I am not seeing what you apparently disagree with. Take note of the statement I made above.
            “DSS, many Liberals follow Marxist ideology, whether they know it or not.”

        2. A fellow who blogs under the handle ‘theMann’ offers a concise precis of portside thought:

          “Only two tenets to any Left Wing system:

          1. Property is fungible. If you have it and I want it, I can take it. If you have it and I don’t want it, I can destroy it. Because I am morally superior to you.
          2. Mankind is, in fact, perfectible, but only by me, because I am morally superior to you.

          All creatures of the Left live by these tenets. Of course Shaw, like every other Lefty of the time period, was 100% committed to Eugenics, the scientifically proven method to make a better humanity. He obviously had no hesitation telling the rest of us that in no uncertain terms. Shaw was not engaging in satire, he was a true believer.”

          1. DSS your #1 and #2 aren’t much different than Leninism and Lenin based his ideology on communism and therefore Marxism which is a theoretical construct.

            If you want to say that theoretical constructs function differently in the real world I won’t disagree but the basic point, just like it is for the founders of BLM, is Marxism as incomplete, misused and dysfunctional as it is a basic part of what we are seeing today except #1 and #2 expose the realities of this social construct.

            I think we have to use basic principles that are most understandable to everyone. Marxism means no property rights because all property is communal. Until the time comes when the world disappears someone always fills the vacuum as to who decides what and for whom.

            1. DSS your #1 and #2 aren’t much different than Leninism and Lenin based his ideology on communism and therefore Marxism which is a theoretical construct.

              Actually, no. They are much more generic than that.

              1. DSS, they may be generic. One would expect that but various people can provide similar generic points on the same subject that will differ. In what way does what I say differ that much from your generic version and how much would your generic version differ from another?

  13. Finally a decision by the court that follows the constitution and not the politically popular desires of a minority of the people in this country.

  14. It is my understanding that Chick-Fil-A hires gays, blacks, Latins, even those deplorable whites.

      1. Pat, at one time or another everyone is guilty of “DISCRIMINATION”, on an almost daily basis.

        For example. I purposefully discriminate against males who wear their pants hanging down below their butts, by not hiring them.

        Likewise, I refuse to hire females with visible tattoos.

        As an employer I have every right not to hire prospective employees who do not fit certain criteria. Life is not fair.

        1. Good for you! You owe no one a job. If part of the employment requirement is no tats or piercings and no baggy pants it is within your rights as an employer to deny them the position.

      2. How is “hires gays, blacks, Latins, even those deplorable whites” discrimination? If you believe it is, you’re part of the problem.

  15. Free speech, again. The “We the People” spoke when the left attempted a boycott and were shown that the majority supported Chick-Fil-A. That is how it is to work and the attempts by the left to use governments hand in moving culture has always and will remain a failure and a point of contention as we are seeing within all these democrat run cities and pandering sports organizations who are seeing that the will of “We the People” are the ultimate arbitrators of culture, not the government.

  16. You will never have a better fast food experience than one from Chick-Fil-A. Most pleasant workers and they even celebrate Christmas with decorations! We have one in Albany airport.

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