'Save Chick-fil-A' Bill Signed by Texas Governor

Supporters of the bill said the measure is necessary to protect religious freedom.

Chick-fil-a sign on side of a building
(Shutterstock)
By Matt Zdun

Gov. Greg Abbott signed the so-called "Save Chick-fil-A" bill Monday.

Senate bill 1978 by state Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, labeled the "Save Chick-fil-A" by some supporters, prohibits government entities from taking "adverse action" against people or businesses based on their membership in, or support for, religious organizations.

Supporters of the bill said the measure is necessary to protect religious freedom. They point to a recent decision by the San Antonio City Council to bar Chick-fil-A from opening a restaurant in the city's airport and one council member's cited reason for the decision as "anti-LGBTQ behavior."

Chick-Fil-A's CEO came out in public opposition to gay marriage in 2012.

Opponents of the bill, including the 86th Legislature's first-ever LGBTQ Caucus, called the bill discriminatory against LGBTQ people and fought vigorously against its passage with unsuccessful procedural blocks and tearful pleas.

"It's been cloaked in religious freedom," said state Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin, moments before the House approved the bill 79-62. "But the genesis, the nexus of this bill, is in hatred."

The bill's House sponsor, state Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, denied that the bill was discriminatory. Even so, he watered down the bill before it passed out of the House, including removing a provision of the bill that would have allowed the attorney general to take governmental entities accused of religious discrimination to court.

Abbott signaled his eventual signing of the bill in a tweet last month.

The law will take effect in September.

So. What are the odds I'll sign the Chick-fil-A bill?

I'll let you know after dinner.

(c)2019 Austin American-Statesman, Texas

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