July 24th, 2012
11:26 AM ET

Henson, Huckabee take sides in Chick-fil-A same-sex marriage controversy

[Updated at 6:36 p.m. ET] The comments about same-sex marriage made by Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy a week ago continue to generate controversy this week, with politicians and fantasy creatures, well at least their handlers, weighing in.

"Guilty as charged," Cathy was quoted as saying in the Baptist Press last week when asked about his company's support of the traditional family unit as opposed to same-sex marriage.

"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," Cathy was quoted as saying.

That stance didn't go over well with the Jim Henson Co., whose Jim Henson's Creature Shop toys have been served up in Chick-fil-A's meals for kids. Jim Henson Co. is named after the creator of the Muppets, though the company transferred the Muppets' rights and ownership to the Walt Disney Co. in 2003, according to Jim Henson Co.

"The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors," the company said in a posting on its Facebook page.

"Lisa Henson, our CEO, is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chick-fil-A to GLAAD (the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation)," the Henson Co.'s posting said.

The posting, which is dated Friday, had drawn more than 10,000 likes and 2,000 comments as of Tuesday morning.

Also drawing numbers on Facebook was a page by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a 2008 GOP presidential candidate, which calls for people to turn out to Chick-fil-A restaurants on August 1 to show their support for what Cathy had to say about marriage.

"I have been incensed at the vitriolic assaults on the Chick fil-A company because the CEO, Dan Cathy, made comments recently in which he affirmed his view that the biblical view of marriage should be upheld," Huckabee wrote on the page, which can also be found at www.ISupportChickFilA.com.

"No one is being asked to make signs, speeches or openly demonstrate. The goal is simple: Let's affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick-fil-A on Wednesday, August 1," wrote Huckabee. As of Tuesday morning, more than 88,000 people had indicated they would be heading to a restaurant on August 1.

One place Chick-fil-A supporters won't be eating on August 1 is Boston. The Massachusetts capital has no Chick-fil-A restaurants, and after Cathy's comments, Boston's mayor says he doesn't want any in his city.

“Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion,” Mayor Thomas M. Menino was quoted as saying by the Boston Herald.

For its part, Chick-fil-A said last week as the controversy was heating up that it didn't want to be involved in politics.

"The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent owner/operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena," said a statement from Don Perry, the company's vice president of corporate public relations.

But don't expect those comments to calm things.

The next focus of the controversy may be the Chick-fil-A in Laguna Hills, California. Youth Empowered to Act, an Orange County group of LGBT leaders age 14 to 24, says on its Facebook page it will protest outside the restaurant's opening on Thursday. The group will try to persuade potential customers to take their business to nearby competitors that the group says do more to support LGBT equality, according to a posting on the GLAAD site.

Correction: Previous versions of this story identified toys given away with Chick-Fil-A meals as Muppets. They were not. The toys are characters from Jim Henson's Creature Shop.

More on Chick-fil-A and religion:

A social media storm over Chick-fil-A

Overheard on CNN.com: Readers defend Chick-fil-A

Ed Helms has beef with Chick-fil-A

Eatocracy: Fast food with a side of faith 

10 religious companies besides Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A controversy sheds light on restaurant's Christian DNA

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Filed under: Fast Food • Gay and lesbian • Religion • Showbiz
soundoff (1,200 Responses)
  1. Robert

    You already have these rights. You just want "special" rights.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • YeahRight

      "You already have these rights. You just want "special" rights."

      Gay couples do not have the civil rights to get married. Marriage was defined by the US Supreme Court as a civil right. Recognized federal civil rights law in the United States is grounded in the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court. By this standard, marriage has long been established as a civil right.

      The operative constitutional text is section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1868. The relevant passages read as follows:

      No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws

      July 24, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kafir

      Yes it's true, bigots want the "special rights" to discriminate and get away with it.

      July 24, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      "You already have these rights. You just want "special" rights."

      It's about civil rights for gays. Marriage was defined by the US Supreme Court as a civil right. Recognized federal civil rights law in the United States is grounded in the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court. By this standard, marriage has long been established as a civil right.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • DrBob66

      Gay men and Lesbians can now marry the person they love? When did this happen? Oh, you mean we have the right to marry someone they don't love in order to fit into your little world of what you believe is right.

      August 4, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ee

    Just so I have this right, it's not okay to discriminate against gay people, but it is okay to discriminate against Christians, religious people, people of faith and people who follow their faith? Yeah, that makes sense, not.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe

      its funny how people expect others to respect their views but when someone says their personal view thats different from what people want to hear, they too are criticized...doesnt make sense!

      July 24, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • pD

      who is discriminating against Christians and how are them discriminating? Do you even know what you are talking about?

      July 24, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • g2-554d155ee0aaa518e03a7e70d9cd6b0b

      Ansolutely not. And if I own a business, and I come out and say, "Christians s&^%! I think they are immoral and should be outlawed!" I shouldn't be surprised if they get upset and make a lot of noise about not using my business. That is the responsibility of having Free Speech. What would be unexpected is being put in jail for saying it, since I have Freedom of Speech.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. kevin

    i think theres a difference between supporting traditional marriage and being anti-gay but thats just my opinion, if i'm allowed to have one.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • YeahRight

      "i think theres a difference between supporting traditional marriage and being anti-gay"

      Denying gays their civil rights to get married is ANTI-GAY! Duh!

      July 24, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • QS

      I disagree. To say you support "traditional" marriage implies that you don't support gay marriage...which is inherently an anti-gay position. There is no difference unless you are saying you support both equally, which is what we say.

      Only one side of this debate is demanding that everything be their way only.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. STRATOSPHEAR

    matters of state and law are, ironically, often voted upon. even when a majority gets its wish, Prop 8, it gets overturned regardless. its basically a country where a people want what they want, when they want it, and every one else be damned. what the LGBT community has taught me, is that my vote is meaningless. you simply put a gay judge on the bench and its all good again, right?

    July 24, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • TrueBlueCatholic

      Hear, hear! Get ready for more unelected activist judges to make the laws.

      July 25, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. rhondajo3

    Mr. Cathy didn't say that he and his employees would be or have ever discriminated against anyone. He merely expressed his beliefs about the family unit, and he and his company are now being hated because he exercized his free speech. Mr Cathy never said that he hated the gay community. I think you all are way over reacting! Let's grow up!

    July 24, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. What a Idiot!

    "Im afraid it's not just their opinion. It's the fact they've funded(over 2 million in fact) organizations that are involved in the politics of preventing any change to marriage in the US to prevent the LGBT community from marrying. That's a gross misuse of power funded by customers of all backgrounds...people can have their opinions but using customer money to fuel your agenda is quite another thing."

    Once the customer hands over their money, it is NO longer theirs. I know you were trying to be all cute and smarts like.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hogan's Goat

      "Once the customer hands over their money, it is NO longer theirs. I know you were trying to be all cute and smarts like."
      What an idiot. Are you actually pretending to tell us how money works? That's so CUTE and SMART honey, but right now the grownups are talking, 'kay? Play with Kermit and Piggy for a while.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • g2-554d155ee0aaa518e03a7e70d9cd6b0b

      Hence, the big movement not to hand our money over to someone we know is going to spread hate with it.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • So what you are saying...

      So you are upset at CFA for taking money from customers and supporting groups that are opposed to the traditional understanding of marriage? Are you equally upset that companies (Apple, Microsoft, etc) are taking money from customers and supporting the changing of traditional marriage?

      July 25, 2012 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. BIg Gay John

    Long live the Muppets~!!!!

    July 24, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Carmen

      It is now the poster dolls for gays, no more muppets in my house, and chick-fil-N is the best wholesome restaurant.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hogan's Goat

      Long may they wave!

      July 24, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      "It is now the poster dolls for gays, no more muppets in my house" That's pathetic; calling them 'gay' because they don't want to be identified with a hate campaign. How "Christian" of you to misrepresent their efforts. Enjoy your hate nuggets . . .

      July 24, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. tkindsm

    Just because he is pro traditional marriage doesnt mean he is anti-gay. Grow up people. There are more important things going on in the world then this.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • YeahRight

      "Just because he is pro traditional marriage doesnt mean he is anti-gay. Grow up people. There are more important things going on in the world then this."

      Oh really so let's deny you your civil rights and see how you like it. Heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

      July 24, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      "doesnt mean he is anti-gay. " They donate to anti-gay organizations. It's not his opinion people object to, it's his giving millions to gaybashers. I can't see Jesus giving money to bullies myself, but then, different churches have different jesuses.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. STRATOSPHEAR

    i was not aware you were being forced to eat at Chik-Fil-A ???

    July 24, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. max

    "Remind me again who "Huckabee" was. Oh right. Didn't he loose his race – again? Could it be that he is out of touch. That has my guess.

    I guess anyone who has lost a parent is no longer a real family? Or when one parent leaves the other one to protect the children. Sinners. They should stay in the marriage so other people think everything is fine. As long as it doesn't occur in a Penn State locker room it is probably safe. Oh, and weren't they from good Christian homes? Didn't they say a prayer before the ball game."

    ^Hi "overstupidity", are you that stupid? :(

    July 24, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hogan's Goat

      "Remind me again who "Huckabee" was. Oh right." Huckleberry Hound was a Hanna-Barbera cartoon that came on after Yogi Bear. Yogi and Boo Boo aren't happy about Chick-Fil-A either.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. STRATOSPHEAR

    if it is considered "stupid" to run a company that was founded in 1946 and have over four billion dollars in sales; then sign me up.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hogan's Goat

      Stupid to make your customers this mad. Stupid to throw away years of good community service. Stupid to lose me as a customer; I didn't care what they believed but I draw the line at giving them money to donate to hate groups. Their stock's gonna drop like a rock.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. STRATOSPHEAR

    i cant wait till China is ruling the global economy. it will put a lot of this crap in perspective.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • pD

      And you call yourself an american?

      July 24, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Svend

    You Americans are simply, insane. Every last one of you.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Animal

      All twenty-two people in your shabby little country are insane too, plus I did their moms. Deal with it.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Greg

    While I may disagree with their politics, at least Chik-fil-A sticks to their principles. They are the only Christian run large business that I know of that closes on Sundays. I'm not sure what "vitriolic attacks" the Henson;s directed against Chik-fil-A, but then Huckabee has not really been one for keeping discourse rational and fact based, so I supposw that's to be expected from him.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hugh Jass

      I'm not sure what "vitriolic attacks" the Henson;s directed against Chik-fil-A,
      "The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors," the company said."
      How DARE they, right? Say that to my face and I'll, oh wait.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. frmrma

    @Strat – People also had voted to ban interracial marriages, and de-segregation. Some rights, as has been proven time and time again, are not up to the majority to determine.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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