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. Portland tony

    Doesn't this article belong in the food blog.....After all, Miss Piggy's activities are not earth shattering!

    July 24, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      They are when used by this hypocritical, hate mongering excuse for a human being.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mr. Dalloway

    This company has to actually be an embarrassment to the Christian religion. Any one who is busy spewing filth about people they know nothing of is just down right disgusting.
    Keep the hate to yourselves, thank you.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Andres

      I don't see them hating... I just see them having an opinion which we all have.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Angela

    The Jim Henson company hasn't owned Kermit or Miss Piggy or Fozzie or a myriad of other well known Muppets for nearly 10 years. CNN really should change the headline picture.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |

    If a pig and a frog can get it on and a "what-ever" and a chicken can have at, what the heII is Chick-fil-A's problem with a man and a man or a woman and a woman heating up their own deep fryer?

    July 24, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  5. FormerCalifornian

    I don't understand why some people like Chick Fil A so much. I tried it twice and found it to be SOOOO SOOOO salty, I wound up throwing it away. And now that I know they're ignorant bigots that's even more of a reason to NOT go back.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dave

    So, people are going to hold individual stores accountable for the opinion of the corporate CEO said? An opinion, I might add, that millions of people share! Well that's pretty stupid!! If he were PRO gay marriage, would this article have even been written? This is ridiculous! WHO CARES... it's a fast food restaurant!!

    July 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. patrick

    So what about the EXTREME likleyhood that gay people are employed at Chick-fil-A locations? "Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell" I suppose..........Chick-filled-with-gay! LOL

    July 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • bdog821

      It is worth noting that having an opinion is not the equivalent of actively discriminating against someone. In spite of Mr. Cathy's pronouncement, I am unaware of Chik fil a having a problem with discrimination against gays. It is important to keep things in perspective and not just knee jerk.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mr Farley

    bahston sucks anyway.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Harris

    Who's spewing hate? The man has traditional views and guess what? ...We can be inclusive and tolerant of Christian views. He hasn't said anything about hate or not serving people respectfully. The gay marriage people always want their opinion to be the only one tolerated. Let the man sell his chicken sandwiches and live out his Christian values. I'm going to go eat lunch there right now! Good for Dan Cathy!

    July 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack Kieser

      Not being supportive of gay rights IS hate, regardless of how you spin it or how "tastefully", "respectfully", or "eloquently" you are capable of displaying it. I could say plenty of racist things in a very eloquent way, and it would still be racism. Same thing here. Cathy and his company, simply by the virtue of holding an anti-human-rights stance (that is to say, that one group of people should not have a right that other groups have for trivial reasons), is a bigot. It's as simple as that.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      Wow - a lonely voice of reason. I agree with you 100%. At which point did it stop being okay for soomeone to have an opposing view?

      "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.

      Where's the hate in that quote? The company has stated that they will happily serve anyone regardless of orientation - again, where's the hate or bigotry? It isn't there and the members of GLAAD would do well to see that for themselves.

      Remember, someone not agreeing with you doesn't automatically make them a hate-filled bigot.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • JSaunders

      It's only intolerence when it's anti-gay, anti-black, etc. But it makes headlines when it's anti-Christian!

      July 24, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • YeahRight

      "Remember, someone not agreeing with you doesn't automatically make them a hate-filled bigot."

      When they are using their uneducated prejudice remarks to fuel the hatred and bigotry toward the community then they are. he 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 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. kdf

    Well, guess I will be splitting with the Muppets. Anyone or company that cannot respect the view of others need not be associated with me. I have my own view and opion and you have yours... if you dont like it, then you are the one with the problem.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Aaron

    I love those delicious Chick-Fil-A sandwiches and could not care any less where the owners donate their money. But I find it humorous that the mayor of the wildly racist city of Boston is calling ANYONE else out on being discriminatory.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • AlyssaJ

      You speak of a Boston from 40 years ago. Have you been within the last 20? It is not what it was.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jay W

    Nowhere in Dan Cathy's comments posted in the article was there hate or bigotry. The man takes a stand on what he believes and he's shot down as being intolerant. I'd rather know where a man stands than the wishy-washy politicians that we frequently get in office.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. T

    How is gay marriage still an issue? Seriously. This should have become an acceptable thing years ago.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sick of hypocrisy

    Why is that when homexuals want to protest their beliefs we are supposed to roll over and accept it but when a Christian expresses their beliefs its hate? That is a double standard. This country was founded on biblical beliefs. Period. I don't accept gay marriage because it goes against the bible and nature itself. It is no secret that chick-fil-a is a Christian company so why are people surprised? As for Boston, who cares that there isn't a chick fil a there. Apparently, they don't need that city or they would have opened one there by now. I am so sick of gays spouting crap. If they want to be proud to be gay, then we should be proud to be straight and Christian. If you believe in God and belief what is written in the bible, then being gay is a sin and it is an abomination to God! Quit forcing your opinions down our throats and companies won't have to take a stand. I will be at chick fil in august and any other day I choose!

    July 24, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Selfish IsADisease

      EXCELLENT Post. Well said – and millions of DECENT Americans are right beside you. God Bless you, Friend.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • I'm Sick of hypocrisy too

      I tried to leave a reply in support of "Sick of hypocrisy", but CNN evidently seems to think that there are already enough posts in support of biblical morality on their web site.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • I'm Sick of hypocrisy too

      They let that one through but not the one explaining how it's the gay side that is so filled with hatred toward anyone who would merely suggest that they are wrong, and in a little more detail, but CNN censored it. Why? Because CNN is a wicked organization.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • chocokat

      Very well stated. I agree with you 100%.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • YeahRight

      "This country was founded on biblical beliefs. Period. I don't accept gay marriage because it goes against the bible and nature itself."

      No this country was not, it's why we have the separation of church and state. No where in your bible does your god condemn the saved loving long term relationship of a gay couple as we know and understand it today. What the bible condemns is worshiping a pagan god using sex, male prostitution and rape. Also, being gay is natural since it has been documented in over 1500 other species. Duh!

      July 24, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derke

      What's your stand on slavery, because the Bible supports it.

      July 24, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. raven

    NOW they don't want to get political? I read that to say "We don't want to lose money". Classic case of speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Decline

      Raven, I think you missed the point where Cathy was asked the question and answered truthfully. He didnt make a statement about gay marriage in a press conference, he didnt start a protest or author or support a bill against gay marriage. He simply answered a question truthfully. Get off your high horse. Everyone is allowed their opinion.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Really? That's not what I read. Did he say the first time that he would not serve them or he would treat them badly? I thought he was still serving them?

      July 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • NiLi

      There is nothing hateful in what the man said. They believe in the biblical definition of marriage. How does that say I hate gays? I don't understand. Chick-Fil-A is standing for what they believe in and I applaud them for that. The bible says that if we stand up God and are not ashamed of Him, He will not be ashamed of us in Heaven. God bless you.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • w247

      "Classic case of speaking out of both sides of his mouth."

      Classic case of putting words in peoples mouth. Go ahead, keep reading your opinions into peoples comments. That's the way to be open minded!! Sheesh..

      July 24, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
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