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. jtucker4

    What a bunch of hypocrites. So they don't support gay marriage but they'll allow openly gay people working for their company. That's because if they don't they would get sued and lose. Basically their beliefs only go as far as the wallet. They are no different then Christian churches. We don't believe in gays or gay marriage but you can come to our church as long as you keep adding to the collection plate.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • OpenUReyes

      The company would have no lawsuit in the many backwater states in this country that embrace discrimination of gays, so your argument on this issue is bogus.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kafir

      Well said.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • E.Emerson

      You are welcome at our church anytime. You can leave money in the offering plate if you wish but not necessary. The bible teahes us to love the sinner but not the sin. I do not see that as hippocritical. The restaurant is not being hippocritical either the owner was just saying what his beliefs were not what you had to do or believe if you stopped by to eat. I gather by your comments also that there are gay folks who work at the restaurants too which says to me that they do not discriminate. Just sayin. Oh i will be praying that your eyes open to the truth of God and to see just how dark the world really is with all of the different sins that men commit.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Frank A

    Mr. Cathy did not say anything that can be costrued as hateful. However, every time a public figure states his or her support for traditional marriage, the LBGT community cries like a bunch of babies. Grow up! If you don't like what the man said, then don't eat at his restaurant. I'm sure he will be fine. It seems to me that CNN and organizations like GLAAD love to make sport of Christians and those with conservative beliefs.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kafir

      @Frank A

      He could be the nicest guy in the world, but giving $2 million to the anti-gay marriage agenda speaks volumes more than hate.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lean6

      Seems they're (LGBT) aren't the only ones with an agenda here. Why is a CEO talking about or being asked about social issues? It's BOUND to be confrontational. A person should do what he's suited for. Chick-fil-A CEO needs to decided if wants to preach or sell chicken. He's apparently conflicted between the desires, because the normal CEO response to such questions wasn't an option. I notice this inner turmoil with conservatives a lot.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Clean freak

    On Wednesday I'm going to have a Chick-fil-A salad with grilled chicken and a diet coke.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. A.

    they give money to anti-gay organizations, money they make from their customers, so therefore my kids and i will be eating elsewhere
    its that simple.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      And that is your right, just as it is their right to not support gay marriage. This is what FREEDOM is about. Forcing either side of the issue by using the power of government is WRONG!

      July 24, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kermit The Frog

      Thank you.
      Miss Piggy told me to send you flowers,
      but she took the credit card.
      Hugs from "De Frog".

      July 24, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jane

    It seems as if Lisa Henson is discriminating against a company whose CEO's personal beliefs happen to be different than her own. As long as Chick-fil-A as a company doesn't discriminate against gays, who cares what the CEO says or does in his own personal time?

    July 24, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • A.

      the company financially supports anti-gay causes

      July 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kafir


      Chick-fil-a openly donated more than $2 million to different anti-gay marriage organizations. If that doesn't speak louder than a mere personal belief, then you need re-educating.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kermit The Frog


      It seems as if Lisa Henson is discriminating against a company whose CEO's personal beliefs happen to be different than her own.

      Dear Jane,
      Lisa's beliefs dont hurt anybody.
      Catheys beliefs do.
      Why ?
      Cathey supports organizations thats would pass laws against other human beings.

      Me and Piggy believe that all are welcome at our table.
      But when you tell me some are not welcome,
      You exclude yourself.
      The Pig And The Frog will not tollerate this.
      Piggy is so upset about this she just tossed animal through a window.
      Animal loved it.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big Bird

      I am torn. Gay people and gay muppets creep me out, but so does the whole practice of killing and cooking birds.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lester Singleton

    If I said I was going to boycot a restaurant because the owner was gay, would that be different than what we are talking about here?

    July 24, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kafir


      If the gay owner was discriminating against straight marriage, then perhaps.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bunson E. Honeydew

      Only if that Gay owner was donating money to pass laws to discriminate against you.
      Beaker is so upset, he is hiding in the microwave.......

      July 24, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. A.

    and the muppet news made my day 🙂

    July 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Michael

    People keep saying that Chick-fil-a is allowed to have there own opinion and that its not hate , but it kind of is , when your opinion effects the way I choose to live my life than it is hateful, I can have an opinion about Christians but it would have no effect on the Christian community, there are no laws banning Christians from saying , doing, or marrying who they want, they have nothing to lose, when Christians spout off about gay people it directly effects the gay community, your opinion effects many people; people who have children, people who work and pay taxes just like you do, not liking someone or not agreeing with someone is one thing , making laws that ban certain people from living there own lives and making there own choices is another thing, and then supporting those laws is hateful, treating a certain group of people like second class citizens all because you don't like them is hateful, no matter how you want to put it its still hateful , plus Chick-fil-a isn't really that good anyways I ate there once and it really didn't impress me.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • lemean


      July 24, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kermit The Frog

      Thank you Michael.
      Piggy says we should have you over for dinner.
      But she cant cook.
      Is Pizza ok ?

      Hugs from Kermit.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Utah Gary

    Haven't been a Chick-Fil-A fan in the past, but I have to agree w/ the "then don't eat there crowd". Private citizen, private company...it's his right. Where's all your high and mighty open-mindedness now? Looks like I'm eat'n mor chikn on 8/1.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kafir

      @Utah Gary,

      Did anyone here call for more action than not eating there? Aside from the protest group?

      July 24, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • People Cant Handle the Truth

      I'm going to have a number 5, (8 count) with a tea and lemonade mix.... also think I will take the whole family.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ron

    Love you Chic-Fil-A!!!!! Hold on your morals!

    July 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kafir


      on-the-wrong-side-of-history fail

      July 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bunson E. Honeydew

      Oh dear.
      Animal wants to eat you.
      He keeps screaming.....CHIK KUN.....CHIK KUN.....

      July 24, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. j.c.

    Supporting Chick-Fil-A is supporting an agenda to discriminate against others based on their beliefs. The Jim Henson Company, like many others, made it clear that they support and embrace everybody including gays and Christians. Chick-Fil-A singles-out non-Christians and gays and spend millions of dollars in order to persecute them.

    Disney owns the Muppets, not Henson, and they've already made a stand for gay marriage. If bigots want to discriminate against Henson they must add Marvel and Pixar to the list.

    In fact, you would have a hard time buying a car, doing your laundry, buying groceries, using a computer or even turning on the lights without supporting a company that supports gay marriage! Logic and knowledge don't enter into the equation of those who hold prejudice in their hearts.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • OpenUReyes

      As I have stated earlier...If the CEO of this company said that the Holocaust never happened, half the people of this room would still support his company...

      July 24, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      And yet, the religion of man aka secularism discriminates against Christians. All worldviews discriminate against each other, there is not moral neutral only truth.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Hypocrites

    "The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years"...yet they don't include Chick-fil-A in their inclusiveness.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. zootsuitbryon

    "If I said I was going to boycot a restaurant because the owner was gay, would that be different than what we are talking about here?"

    Depends. Is that restaurant owner using his restaurant's money to donate to organizations trying to make laws to discriminate against you and those people you love? If so, then it would be the same.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lester Singleton

      Could it be that the owner of Chick fil A is donating to organization who supports the definition of family that he agrees with rather than trying to "donate to organizations trying to make laws to discriminate against" the gay community? I highly doubt he is trying to change any laws though I am sure you can make a tie to some political group just as you can probably tie Adolf Hitler to Kevin Bacon in 6 moves.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. PlainJane

    Lets be honest the only people who are being hateful or discriminatory are Jim Hanson Co. and the mayor of Boston. Maybe being hateful is just part of human nature now because as much as they label other people as hateful and bigotted gays engage in the same behavior. This being a prime example.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kafir


      So it's more hateful to hate against the hateful than the hatefuls themselves?

      July 24, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • OpenUReyes

      Maybe you just have to get out in the world, and embrace the diversity out there, instead of embracing your bigotry.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      The behavior of Cathy is deserving of hate. People being gay isnt. Thats the difference.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • PlainJane


      At the end of the day neither one is right because its all HATE. I think you misunderstand hate for disagreement. If Chick-fil-A fired all gay employees and stopped serving gays tomorrow I'd say that crap is wrong. Answering a question about your personal beliefs is normal. Just because its not popular opinion doesnt mean its hateful.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • PlainJane

      The gay movement will never be on the same level as the civil rights movement because back then many good natured Blacks refused to engage in the behavior they attributed to their oppressors. Therefore you will never beat hate with hate

      July 24, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kermit The Frog

      Rejecting discrimination is now being hateful ?
      Did i discriminate against the cook who wanted to cut my legs off ?
      Did Miss Piggy discriminate because she wanted to be treated like a woman
      and not a slice of bacon ?
      Some humans make me sad.
      Most of you are wonderful.
      What has happened to the rest ?

      July 24, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Eric

    I never cared for the muppets anyway.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
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