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

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

    I've always thought of Chick Fil A as "religious chicken" because they were closed on Sunday. I've never eaten at their restaurants, but my partner said whenever he had one of their sandwiches he always felt lousy afterward. I guess I'll never find out for myself now since if the owner doesn't support my family............. I won't support his.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Awaiting His Kingdom

    Thank you Mr Cathy for standing up for what you believe. God will richly bless you for honoring the family that He ordained. The Bible tells us that sinners who have not confessed of their sins, repented of their sins, and given their life to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour of their life, will not inherit the Kingdom of God. I look forward to seeing you in Heaven, Mr Cathy, and all of Jesus' followers, where we will be able to Praise our God and not be condemned by those who do not know Him.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mickey1313

      I thought god was about love not bigotry

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

      Keep following those false prophets, and they ARE false prophets, and see what happens "Mathew 24:24".

      July 24, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kafir

      A whole pitcher of kool-aid a day isn't exactly healthy.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Col. Jessup

      Hilarious. Handle it.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lester Singleton

      whose definition of bigotry?

      July 24, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • RUA_Christian?

      I'm astounded at the number of "christians" claiming that Cathy upheld their religious stance. Frankly- there's not a single verse in the NEW testament regarding the family unit, marriage of man to woman versus any other configuration, with the exception of Corinthians verse for "Man to love his wife". But it also goes on to say Love is not jealous or angry or hateful or greedy. I bold-face the NEW testament... you know... the one that CHRISTIANS are supposed to be defined by. The OLD testament is Judaic law. So- for all you CHRISTIANS who want to cite Leviticus... I say you can't cherry-pick your daugma to suit your cause.

      The teachings of Jesus were TO BE TOLERANT towards others.

      You blaspheme his name when you raise up your "religious might" in his name.

      ... and I'm not a religious person myself. I'm just a well-studied observer of religious history and human cause.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      Can't you just get a head start and go to his Kingdom, like right now? Us sinners don't want you here on earth anymore...

      July 24, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Electric Mayhem

      Good luck with that.
      The kingdom of God is in your heart.
      It is "not" in heaven.
      You didnt get the message.

      July 24, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bob Baft

    Wait a minute....Disney owns the Muppets now....and Disney doesn't support gay marriage.

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

      Well Bob, either you are being sarcastic or you are stupid.
      When the Southern Baptist decided to boycott Disney, because Disney was all inclusive,
      Disney allowed many gay groups to have events at Disney.
      Instead of attendance going down, it shot through the roof.

      Your religious groups have tried boycotting everything from ads from Chevrolet
      to ads from Miami beach resorts.

      They have never worked.
      Yes, a few Christians may not go, but your everyday
      normal human being has no problem with gays, or people who....
      ARE ALL INCLUSIVE !!!!

      Welcome to Civilization.

      July 24, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. David

    Chick Fil A has stood on its christian value since it beginning. They aren't open on Sundays but you don't hear of any other religious groups protesting that! I bet they don't give a lot or any money to Jewish or Muslim organizations but they aren't protesting! They support groups that hold their same beliefs, what is wrong with that. You expect them to support something that they don't believe in but no Henson Co. That is hypocrisy! The LGBT community seems to be the most intolerate of all!

    July 24, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mickey1313

      I don't think you se the point. It is not that do not suport them, it is the fact that they are outspoken against them. Nutrallity is one thing being against equal rights for all is bigotry. How many companies in the 60's were against black rights, there is no difference

      July 24, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Col. Jessup

      Funny how they don't mind breaking a commandment by closing on Sunday instead of Saturday. They must all be Romans.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kafir

      @David

      Tell me you're not trying to equate 'discrimination against a minority group' with 'discrimination against a group that discriminates against minority groups' cuz that would be madness.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric G

      Please forgive the LGBT community for publicly announcing that they do not agree with a group of people who think they should not have the same rights.

      Please do not attempt to hide behind your religion to discriminate against others. You have the right to free speech. That right does not insulate you from response.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Electric Mayhem

      Hypocricy.

      A word that both Christians and Republicans use often.
      Without understanding how it applies to them.

      I dont think its something in the water or the air.
      Its something in the teaching.

      July 24, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Observer

    GLAAD and their friends are hypocrites.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      Observer: Shouldn't you give an example if you're going to say something like that, or is that just what the little voice in your head told you to say?

      July 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mickey1313

    Good henson. If you disagree with how a company conducts itself, then boycott them. Even though I'm only one guy there are many places that don't get my money. Walmart a prime example

    July 24, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. nonredneck

    Even though I support Chik-fil-a's right to free speech and their own beliefs, their food just sucks. That's why I've never been there in the past decade and don't intend to start. The food is awful! I don't understand why they stay in business.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. norm

    I feel left out. I've never eaten at a Chick-fil-A and never watched the Muppets (or bought any of their toy characters). I can't boycott anyone. Whatever will I do?

    July 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • grace

      Norm, PLEASE, go rent a Muppet dvd. You will thank me later.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. CB

    It works both ways, Henson is obviously discriminating against Christians! The CEO was asked a question and he responded honestly. He did not say that they do not employ or serve Gay persons, he said they support the traditional Marriage! As I read this, it is more likely that Henson would not hire a Christian based upon their beliefs than Chick-fil-a would refuse to hire a gay person. For that reason, I will not be purchasing any more Henson products for my children as well. NOT because they support gay marriage but because they so openly bash someone else for their views! Even if I was not a Christian this would be my stance!

    July 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • tommy mack

      Your logic is a major fallacy. You apparently just like the sound of your own typing.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mickey1313

      I would say if I owned my own company, I would not hire any only theistic people. They have to many special needs.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kafir

      @CB

      Tell me you're not equating "support of gay marriage" with "discrimination against a religious group that discriminates against gays" cuz that would be.... yep, madness.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. tommy mack

    McDonalds offers the "Southern Chicken Sandwich" which is IDENTICAL to Chic-Fil-a. Just sayin...

    July 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Observer

    Hell will be packed with hypocritical Christian adulterers. The Bible says divorcing and remarrying makes you an adulterer.

    Obviously, there are FAR FAR MORE Christian adulterers than there are total number of gays.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lester Singleton

      And someone has completely overlooked the foundation of the christian religion.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • techgirl

      ... and that's for God to decide. Who gave you the power or knowledge to know how God thinks and who he puts in hell?

      July 24, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kim

    Chick-fil-A says publically that they are basically for discrimination in the culture, but they won't discriminate to who they serve. basically saying "you'll go to hell for what you are, but we'll still take your money to fund continued discrimination against you and your kind." what's worse is some people actually support them for saying so.

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

      "you and your kind"? Is this some kind of exclusive club that some are missing out on? What "kind" are you speaking of here?

      July 24, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. WTH

    Guess Boston is gonna be just another San Francisco or Fire Island. Don't need to be selling toys that support gays either. Just send all gays to a planet far, far, away – they are nothing but a bad influence within society anyway.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Enjoying The S-d-my

      Like you breeders are such great examples. You know, like Jerry Sandusky.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • OpenUReyes

      I guess you can hide your closet too, with Fred Phelps!

      July 24, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Me

    I hate, and will not support others that don't believe like me and support my lifestyle. Oh wait...did I just do the same thing they did?

    July 24, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. lct1

    Wow, is history repeating itself or what? Chick Fill-A has suddenly become THIS century's PickRick Restauant, made infamous by Strom Thurmond and his policy of, "If you be black, better stay back". I say, gay rights groups should adopt Chick Fill-A as THEIR fast-food restaurant of choice, like Hamburger Mary's on a grander scale, to confront the company's hostile anti-gay stand. "We're proud and gay and we love Chick Fill-A". Make them rue the day they marched goose-stop with Huckabee & Co., and maybe, just maybe, they might just understand the other side of the whole gay rights issue.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:06 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. Gays should really study history

      July 24, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Missknowitall

      Actually , I really like that!!! I think you are on to something there.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • soicanleavecommentsonblogs

      If only their kitchens and restaurants were as holy and clean as what their mouths spew.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      "hostile anti-gay stand"?

      They don't support gay marriage and have given money to oppose it. It's hardly "hostile". They have every right to their beliefs as do you. For Christians, their moral compass is found in the word of God. Right and wrong aren't defined on a sliding scale as the world would have you believe, it's based on the foundation of Jesus Christ. While we are to love everyone, that doesn't excuse sin. God defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Period. The fact that Chik-fi-la sticks to their beliefs is admirable.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • rk

      He said he didn't support Gay marriage,he didn't say he believed all LGBT should be taken out in the streets and stoned to death. Crap you guy are crazy

      July 24, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36