Remember those cities that were rejecting Chick-fil-A restaurants in their airports, out of anger that the fast-food retailer doesn’t actively embrace far-left political orthodoxy on “LGBT” issues?
That was so last month.
LU contributor Hans Bader pointed out that when San Antonio, Texas banned Chick-fil-A from its major airport, the city was violating the chain owners’ First Amendment rights. San Antonio imposed the ban due to Chick-fil-A’s donations to groups like the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
He noted the same thing about Buffalo, New York’s ban on the restaurant.
Although it isn’t clear that respect for the First Amendment has prevailed here, the city of San Jose, California is not going the “ban Chick-fil-A” route. San Jose’s city council voted in 2018 to permit a Chick-fil-A at the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport. The Chick-fil-A is scheduled to open in May 2019.
That won’t change the Chick-fil-A geography the mayor of San Francisco boasted of several years back, as Ruth Graham recounted at Slate last month:
The mayors of Chicago, San Francisco, and Boston suggested the restaurant would not be welcome in their cities. “Closest #ChickFilA to San Francisco is 40 miles away & I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer,” the mayor of San Francisco tweeted.
The mayor’s tweet actually went out of date in November 2012, when a Chick-fil-A opened in Walnut Creek, CA a mere 25 miles from San Francisco across the Bay Bridge. (The San Jose airport is in any case more than 40 miles from San Francisco.)
But San Jose’s decision did buck the small trend toward excluding the chicken restaurant from airport markets.
The city council has settled instead on an alternative maneuver. In a unanimous vote on Tuesday, the council decided to “hang rainbow flags in support of LGBTQ people and pink, blue and white flags for transgender rights at or near” the airport Chick-fil-A.
The airport will reportedly make the final determination on where the flags will go. The council wants flags outside the airport too, which are said to be included in the plan.
Ken Yeager, the first openly gay elected official in Santa Clara County, told NBC News on Thursday that he submitted the flag idea to the city council at the Tuesday night meeting.
“I made the suggestion to put the flags next to the restaurant, and council members liked that idea but also said that maybe put flags elsewhere, too, like outside,” Yeager said.
According to NBC News, “some council members now say” approving the Chick-fil-A in 2018 “was an oversight.”
In San Jose, that could well be the case. Slate’s article asks a pertinent general question, however, as it surveys Chick-fil-A’s continued success and the failure of attempts to boycott the restaurant: “Why did so many people forget to boycott the infamous chicken chain?”
Author Graham may hold the key to the puzzle with her summary conclusion: “The product is irresistible.”