TX Assistant AG Jeff Mateer: San Antonio ‘Violated Chick-fil-A’s First Amendment Rights’

Chick-fil-A
AP Photo/Mike Stewart

Jeff Mateer, first assistant attorney general of Texas, told Breitbart News that San Antonio’s city council likely “violated” Chick-fil-A’s First Amendment rights in banning the chicken restaurant from procuring service contracts at its local airport.

Breitbart News reported on March 23, “The San Antonio city council has moved to ban fast food giant Chick-fil-A from the city’s airport because the company is famously supportive of traditional Christian values.”

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Mateer said, “What the evidence shows, right now, is that the city council in San Antonio excluded Chick-fil-A from a concession contract at its airport even though the city staff recommended to approve this contract.”

Mateer added, “Two of the city council members expressly stated that the reason they wanted Chick-fil-A out of the contract was because of the owners’ religious beliefs. We believe — following strong Supreme Court precedent, the Hobby Lobby case, and this past term’s Masterpiece Cakeshop case — that violates the religious beliefs, the First Amendment rights of Chick-fil-A.”

Mateer continued, “When the city of San Antonio, through its city council, acted, that they’re showing religious animosity toward Chick-fil-A and its founders, and the First Amendment prohibits that.”

On March 28, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced plans to investigate whether San Antonio’s city council violated the First Amendment in its banning of Chick-fil-A from participating as a vendor at the city’s airport because of the chain’s support for Christian values.

“If the evidence is true and it pans out that is why this city council voted 6-4 to exclude Chick-Fil-A, then they violated our state law, as well,” assessed Mateer. “We’ve asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to likewise look into this matter, because we believe in our reviewing of federal law and federal regulations — that if it’s true that city council acted because of Chick-Fil-A’s religious beliefs — that that also violates federal law and would jeopardize federal grants coming to the airport.”

Mateer added, “We’re going to investigate here at the office of the attorney general. That’s why [Ken Paxton] asked us to open this investigation and why we’re encouraging the Department of Transportation at the federal level to do the same.”

Mateer remarked, “It’s incredibly ironic. The so-called voices of tolerance are being intolerant. What they cited was that Chick-fil-A’s ownership gives to the Salvation Army [and] the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.”

Mateer stated, “You’ve got a city deciding …  [that] we’re going to penalize people because of their religious beliefs. ‘We don’t like the fact that you support such great American organizations like the Salvation Army.’ It’s absolutely incredible that there’s this sort of environment out there to intimidate and bully people to believe the way they want people to believe. Last I checked, that’s not America.”

“That’s what occurred in the Soviet Union,” concluded Mateer. “That’s what occurred in other socialist and totalitarian societies. This is America. We want to be free to believe and free to act on those beliefs.”

Breitbart News Sunday airs Sunday on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel 125 from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Eastern (4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Pacific).

Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.

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