Does The ‘Save Chick-fil-A’ Law Have Any Bite?

A UT law professor says the measure, which Gov Greg Abbott has signed, essentially restates existing law protecting freedom of speech and religion. He also believes the law could prevent cities from keeping a business like Chick-fil-A out of its airport.

June 12, 2019 1:30 pm

On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbot signed several bills into law, branding the Texas GOP “the party of results.” Among the bills he OK’d was an update of the school finance system. For the most part, the just-concluded legislative session avoided the hot button social issues that voters have associated with the rightmost wing of his party

But despite the restraint shown by Abbott and the leaders of the House and Senate, Abbott took to social media a few days ago, sharing a picture of a Chick-fil-A sandwich, waffle fries and a drink.

Jeffrey Abramson, professor of law and government at the University of Texas at Austin says the “save Chick-fil-A bill,” which supporters say protects religious liberty, and opponents believe sanctions discrimination against LGBTQ people, is “a wolf masquerading in sheep’s clothing.”

He says the initial bill, as filed in the Legislature, used expansive language that would have allowed people with religious convictions to violate a number of anti-discrimination laws if they conflicted with an individual’s beliefs. In its final form, the bill amounts to a restatement of existing law.

Abramson says the law Abbott signed reaffirms that the government would be in violation of individuals’ free speech rights if it took action against someone for association with a religious group.

“That sheep-like statement is perfectly fine, but given the background of the law, you know, you worry about whether the wolf is going to reappear,” Abramson says.

The bill began as a response to the City of San Antonio’s refusal to allow a Chick-fil-A store in the city’s airport. Abramson says what the city did was to not extend a benefit to the restaurant chain. He believes the new law will likely prevent actions like San Antonio’s in the future.


Written by Shelly Brisbin.