A politician who’s trying to ban local governments from taking Chick-fil-A’s donations to anti-LGBTQ organizations into account when determining city contracts said that he doesn’t believe people should be allowed to “argue with the organizations that Chick-fil-A chooses to support.”
Texas state Representative Jeff Leach (R) appeared on Fox & Friends yesterday to support what’s been called the “Save Chick-fil-A” bill, which was nixed in the Texas house last week but quietly revived in the state senate this week.
The bill would go much further than Chick-fil-A and ban state and local governments from taking “any adverse action against any person” if they claim that their actions are based on their “sincerely-held religious belief or moral conviction, including beliefs or convictions regarding marriage.”
The bill’s authors say that it’s necessary because the city of San Antonio refused to give the fast food chain a contract to operate in their local airport, citing both Chick-fil-A’s donations to anti-LGBTQ organizations and the fact that the chicken restaurant is closed on Sundays (the airport is open every day).
“People love Chick-fil-A,” Leach said on Fox & Friends. “You can’t argue with Chick-fil-A’s food and I don’t think you should be able to argue with the organizations that Chick-fil-A chooses to support either.”
Leach gives away the game in these comments. While bills protecting corporations’ supposed “sincerely held religious beliefs” are framed as a way of advancing freedom, this bill intends to do the exact opposite. It’s about shutting down discussion and forcing cities like San Antonio to not question who is on the other end of the lucrative deals it makes with private businesses.
It’s not that he wants to protect Chick-fil-A’s right to give to anti-LGBTQ organizations – a right that no one is questioning, since San Antonio didn’t even consider banning Chick-fil-A from the city, it just voted against a special contract – but that he wants to take away people’s rights to even make small protests against those donations.
In 2010, Chick-fil-A was found to have given money to extreme anti-LGBTQ organizations like Family Research Council and the conversion therapy organization Exodus International. The fast food chain’s CEO Dan Cathy said that they were “guilty as charged” when it came to donating to organizations that hate LGBTQ people.
The most recently available tax returns from Chick-fil-A’s charitable arm shows that the chain gave $1.8 million to anti-LGBTQ organizations in 2017.