SAN ANTONIO — A group of conservatives doesn’t have the legal standing to sue San Antonio over its rejection of a Chick-fil-A restaurant at the city’s airport, a Texas appeals court ruled.
The San Antonio City Council approved a contract last year with an Atlanta-based company to bring new vendors to San Antonio International Airport but told it to strike Chick-fil-A and find another food vendor, the San Antonio Express-News reported. Councilman Roberto Treviño cited the fast food chain’s history of donating to groups opposed to LGBT rights.
Five conservatives, including former council candidate Patrick Von Dohlen, sued the city seven months later, alleging that the council had violated a so-called Save Chick-fil-A law that Texas lawmakers passed last year that bars government agencies from punishing companies or people for donating to or affiliating with religious organizations.
The Fourth Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the activists had no grounds to sue the city, reversing a lower court’s ruling. Chief Justice Sandee Bryan Marion wrote for the majority that the group was essentially seeking “to undo and invalidate a contract previously approved by the city council, compel the city to re-open the contract approval process, and require the city to re-award the contract to a subcontractor that will operate a Chick-fil-A restaurant in the airport.”
Marion concluded that the city has governmental immunity on those particular grounds.
Von Dohlen and fellow plaintiff Michael Knuffke said they would appeal to the Texas Supreme Court.
“This is not unexpected with a court of two progressive liberal Democrat judges and one conservative judge,” the pair wrote in a joint statement.
The city’s attorney, Andy Segovia, lauded the ruling.
“The plaintiffs tried to use the court to advance a political agenda, and we’re glad to see this matter put to rest,” Segovia said in a statement.