Texas governor Greg Abbott signs bill banning discrimination against homophobes

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the 'Save Chick-fil-A' bill

The Governor of Texas Greg Abbott has signed a bill to ban discrimination against businesses with anti-LGBT views, after Chick-fil-A faced boycotts over donations to anti-LGBT causes.

Abbott staged a public signing ceremony on Thursday (July 18) for the so-called Save Chick-fil-A bill, which bars the government entities from taking “any adverse action” that is based “wholly or partly on a person’s belief or action in accordance with the person’s sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction, including beliefs or convictions regarding marriage.”

Texas governor Greg Abbott claims discrimination is ‘not tolerated’ in Texas

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Republican governor said: “Discrimination is not tolerated in Texas.

“No business should be discriminated against simply because its owners donate to a church, the Salvation Army, or other religious organisation,

“No business should lose a government contract because of their religious beliefs. The save Chick-fil-A legislation that I’m about to sign is a victory for religious freedom in Texas.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott at the state capital on May 24, 2018 in Austin, Texas.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott at the state capital on May 24, 2018 in Austin, Texas. (Drew Anthony Smith/Getty)

Despite Abbott’s claim that “discrimination is not tolerated in Texas,” Republicans in the state have repeatedly blocked efforts to pass basic laws outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

By contrast, the Save Chick-fil-A bill was rushed through the Republican-controlled Texas legislature just months after a Chick-fil-A restaurant was blocked from opening at San Antonio International Airport over the chain’s links to anti-LGBT groups.

The broadly-written law seeks to strip state and local government powers to “withhold, reduce, exclude, terminate, or otherwise deny any grant, contract, license, registration, accreditation [or] employment” and to “withhold, reduce, exclude, terminate, or otherwise deny access to a property, educational institution, speech forum, or charitable fund-raising campaign” over religious anti-LGBT views.

Chick-fil-A’s anti-LGBT history

In 2012, it emerged that Chick-fil-A had donated millions of dollars to anti-gay groups, including the Family Research Council, ‘gay cure’ group Exodus International and Focus on the Family.

CEO Dan Cathy later confirmed the company was opposed to marriage equality and “guilty as charged” for backing “the biblical definition of a family.”

Cathy told Baptist Press at the time: “We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”

The company later claimed it would “leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena,” however its donations to anti-LGBT causes have persisted.

LGBT+ activists have sustained a years-long boycott of the company.

In May, the Trump administration ordered a federal probe into decisions to bar Chick-fil-A from opening at two airports, in an apparent concession to the evangelical lobby.