San Antonio's decision to ban Chick-fil-A from the airport could result in statewide changes, as bills that address religious freedom go up for debate today in Austin, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"This growing attack on people of Christian faith, because of what they believe in their personal and private lives, has gotten out of control," Jonathan Saenz with Texas Values says.
A pair of bills that, today, go before the House State Affairs committee would allow businesses to sue if a governmental entity discriminates against them, and that includes their belief in traditional marriage.
"A governmental entity may not take any adverse action against any person 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," HB 3172 reads.
Saenz is part of a growing movement by Christian Conservatives who feel they are being discriminated against for their beliefs. He says the move by San Antonio's City Council to ban Chick-fil-A from the airport on the grounds of their charitable contributions to causes that support traditional marriage sends the wrong message to business community.
"To have that message of, 'Christians not allowed' is not good for the economy."
But civil rights groups feel these bills are nothing more than a license to discriminate. Dan Quinn with the Texas Freedom network agrees that religious freedom is one of the nation's founding values.
"But it has never meant the right to impose our religious beliefs on others or to use religion as a license to discriminate. And as a nation, we decided a long time ago that businesses that are open to the public should be open to everyone on the same terms. That’s because Americans believe in treating others as we would want to be treated, equally and with respect."
He points to a Public Religion Research Institute survey, which released just last month, that showed that Texans opposed, 54-39 percent, allowing businesses to use religion as a justification for discriminating against LGBT people
While Chick-fil-A's corporate leaders have been open about their stance on traditional marriage, there have never been accusations that they refuse to serve same sex couples.
Today's debate in Austin comes one day before San Antonio's City Council decides on whether to have a re-do on the vote for an airport concession contract.