A San Antonio city councilman running for mayor tried again Thursday to persuade the city council to consider including Chick-fil-A in its airport concessions contract.
"I consider this opportunity today to be a defining moment for this council," Councilman Greg Brockhouse said in introducing the proposal, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
But the council narrowly rejected Brockhouse's move to reconsider the issue at its next meeting, voting 6-5 against the measure.
Brockhouse told CBN News Wednesday that the fate of the chicken restaurant in the city's airport has become "the number one issue" in the mayoral election, scheduled for Saturday, May 4th.
And Brockhouse said the faith community is paying attention. "I think it's awoken a sweeping bloc of people here," he said, "where I'm at it's always a topic."
In March, Councilman Roberto Trevino led the charge for a vote to remove Chick-fil-A from the concessions contract, citing its history of giving to organizations he categorized as anti-LGBTQ.
Chick-fil-A has been open about its charitable giving. A recent report explained its donations to local groups in Atlanta as well as national organizations such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Salvation Army, Junior Achievement and the Paul Anderson Youth Homes.
Brockhouse's opponent in the May 4th election, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, has cited business reasons for his opposition to Chick-fil-A, saying he would prefer a local company at the airport and one that was open on Sundays.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told the mayor and council after its first vote on Chick-fil-A that he had "serious concerns" about religious liberty. Paxton said he's starting an investigation to determine if the vote violates state law and has asked the federal Department of Transportation to review it as well.
The Dallas-based religious liberty law firm First Liberty is also investigating, requesting documents from San Antonio city officials on the vote.
"The city's decision to ban Chick-fil-A was blatant, illegal religious discrimination," said Hiram Sasser, First Liberty's general counsel. "We want to know just how deep the religious animosity runs within San Antonio's city government."
First Liberty attorney Keisha Russell told CBN News that the recent Supreme Court decision involving Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece cake shop in Denver, might influence how investigators view what's happening in San Antonio.
"The city council members are demonstrating hostility which is one of the things that the court said in Masterpiece is blatantly unconstitutional," she said.
Chick-fil-A is running into opposition at two other airports as well. The Buffalo Niagara International airport disinvited the company from opening a new restaurant in its food court.
And in San Jose, the city council has voted to allow a Chick-fil-A restaurant at the airport but also to hang LGBTQ flags nearby.