Metro Weekly

Texas governor mocked LGBTQ community with staged signing of discriminatory “Save Chick-fil-A” bill

Governor already signed bill, but uses event to tout himself as a defender of "religious liberty"

Photo: Greg Abbott, via Twitter.

As has become the custom, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott trolled the LGBTQ community and his political opponents on the Left by holding a signing ceremony for the so-called “Save Chick-fil-A” bill.

Abbott previously signed the bill into law last month, but held a public ceremony in his office on Thursday, with Chick-fil-A sandwiches, cups carrying the restaurant’s distinct logo, and plenty of Chick-fil-A paraphernalia on hand.

Abbott posted video of the signing on his Twitter account, writing: “Today I signed the @ChickfilA law in Texas. And, had a great lunch. No business should be discriminated against simply because its owners donate to a church, the Salvation Army, or other religious organization. Texas protects religious liberty.”

The bill, which was passed by both chambers of the Texas Legislature on a largely party-line vote, prevents government entities, including legislative agencies, counties, municipalities, elected officials, and government employees from taking “adverse action” against an individual or business that acts in accordance with their religious conscience.

In the case of Chick-fil-A, the company has received heavy criticism for its past — and in some cases, ongoing — donations to groups with anti-LGBTQ views that espouse traditional views of marriage, sexuality, and gender.

Those groups include: the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which requires members to adhere to a “sexual purity” policy that opposes “homosexual acts”; the Salvation Army, which has fought against LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination laws; and the Paul Anderson Youth Home, a residential home for troubled young men that reportedly teaches that being gay is wrong and that same-sex marriage is against “Jesus Christ and his values.”

Related: Chick-fil-A won’t stop donating to anti-LGBTQ groups, says it’s part of a “higher calling”

It was those donations that were used as justification for the San Antonio City Council to deny Chick-fil-A a space inside San Antonio International Airport.

In response, conservative lawmakers introduced a bill to protect companies from losing out on contracts for monetary contributions (which they see as a form of free speech) to organizations that embrace similar or shared beliefs.

This is not the first time that Abbott has used Chick-fil-A as a prop to garner Twitter likes from supporters. He previously showed a soda cup from the company on his laptop, which showed an online article speculating on whether he’d sign the Chick-fil-A bill.

For Abbott, events like Thursday’s bill signing are a political win-win: he gets to publicly put his stamp on a piece of legislation he supports, thus garnering press attention and being hailed as a defender of “religious liberty.”

He also gets to thumb his nose at political opponents, and gets validation through “likes,” shares and retweets from conservatives who support the bill, individuals who despise so-called “political correctness,” or those who believe that the LGBTQ community and its political allies have overstepped by seeking to force companies to accept their lifestyle.

Additionally, anyone who is critical of Abbott, even on a separate issue — such as for opposing laws to prevent anti-LGBTQ discrimination in Texas — gets attacked by those supporters on social media as anti-religion or anti-free speech.

Regardless of the San Antonio City Council’s actions, it appears that Chick-fil-A is in no immediate danger of becoming broke and penniless.

Last month, CNN reported that the company was named “America’s favorite restaurant” based on input from nearly 23,000 customers who responded to the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

It also generated more than $10.5 billion in sales, a testament to its widespread popularity.

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