Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed the controversial ‘Save Chick-fil-A’ bill into law.
Abbott tweeted a video of himself signing the final bill on Friday (19 July).
Senate Bill 1978 prohibits government entities from taking ‘adverse actions’ against businesses or individuals because of their religious beliefs.
The bill was drawn up after several airports in the US banned Chick-fil-A outlets from opening on their grounds because of the company’s association with anti-LGBTI conservative Christian groups.
LGBTI rights groups have voiced concerns that the law will lead to LGBTI discrimination on the grounds of religious freedoms.
‘Today I signed the @ChickfilA law in Texas’
In the video, Abbott is surrounded by food and people carrying drinks from the fast-food chain.
‘Today I signed the @ChickfilA law in Texas. And, had a great lunch,’ he wrote.
‘No business should be discriminated against simply because its owners donate to a church, the Salvation Army, or other religious organization. Texas protects religious liberty.’
In the video, Abbott also said: ‘No business should lose a government contract because of their religious beliefs.’
Abbot, who has been governor of Texas since 2015, has signaled his support for the bill in the past.
Today I signed the @ChickfilA law in Texas.
And, had a great lunch.
No business should be discriminated against simply because its owners donate to a church, the Salvation Army, or other religious organization.
Texas protects religious liberty. pic.twitter.com/1QwSTuoWu0
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) July 19, 2019
Texas House of Representatives passed the legislation on 20 May.
Republicans introduced the religious freedom bill after the city council of San Antonio voted to ban a Chick-fil-A outlet from opening in its city airport.
Discussing the vote, San Antonio Councilman Roberto C. Treviño said: ‘San Antonio is a city full of compassion, and we don’t have room in our public facilities for a business with a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior.’
Following its introduction, the Texas LGBTI Caucus used a ‘parliamentary maneuver’ to kill the bill. The Caucus successfully challenged the bill, saying it legitimized and could legalize discrimination against LGBTI people in the name of religion.
However, shortly after this Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick rushed the bill through a committee without any notice or a hearing, bringing the bill back to life.
Chick-fil-A has a long record of supporting groups with anti-LGBTI agendas.
The company reportedly donated around $2 million to anti-gay groups in 2010. Tax records show that they have continued to make similar donations as recently as 2017.
The company’s COO, Dan Cathy, has also said that Chick-fil-A stands against marriage equality and operates on ‘biblical principles’.
San Antonio is not the only place to ban Chick-fil-A from opening a branch at its airport.
In April, Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York also said they would stop a Chick-fil-A from opening on location.
Prior to this, Rider University in New Jersey removed Chick-fil-A as an option for a new campus restaurant due to their support for anti-LGBTI organizations in November last year.