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. tomorrowisnotpromised

    He can't turn people away based on race, religion, gender etc....That would be against the law, however he can send money to the anti-gay groups. If he chooses to do that, fine for him..He is free to do whatever he wants with his money. The issue is if the gay community is so upset with him why would they even go to his establishment and make them try and decide if they were gay or not??? If you are so upset then don't go spend your money there..It is really simple!! Him giving money to anti-gay groups is no different than the gay community giving scholarships to gay students...That appauls me!!! But I don't go around hating people in the gay community. Please leave this man alone he is free to say and do whatever he wants with his restaurant and his money....Besides all he said was they believe in the true family values written in the BIble a man and a woman. Nothing wrong with stating the facts last time I checked!! He is standing for what he believes and believe me the gay community does it EVERYDAY!!!

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

      So you equate the efforts to uplift someone through education to actively attempting to deny your fellow citizen's their civil rights? it's one thing to believe or to espouse your views but to actively work to towards denying people their civil rights is where he crosses the line.

      July 24, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jason

    "ZOMG, my kids can't watch the Muppets anymore because the CEO is pro gay marriage!!" Sounds rediculous, right? And so do you all making a big deal about this person, who happens to be the CEO of a company, stating his personal opinion. If Chik-Fil-A refused to hire gay people or give them raises or allow them to take vacation... then maybe you'd have an argument. As it stands, you all just look like Muppets.

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

      It's not like he just doesn't agree... He has spent millions of dollars to actively persecute gay people. There is a huge difference.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Emanuel

    Gonzo decided to cut ties with them, but for an entirely different reason....

    July 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Surfer George

    Chick-Fil-A, Domino's Pizza, any of the Koch brother's company's products I can find will bot get my money.

    That's all I have to say about that.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. What else can I say everybody's gay

    No more Chick-Fil-A for Elmo....:(

    July 24, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Starman

    Great article - I will have to start patronizing this restaurant.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clubfoot Charley

      Good luck with your quadruple bypass.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Send in the clowns.

    Mmm.. Chick Fil a all of a suddun sounds delicious for lunch. No doubt this will only help their sales. Way to get them free advertising.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Beam

    I think its strange actually that any business has to side with certain issues. They are a business...not running for office. :/ What is also odd is people say they are discriminating by having a unpopular opinion and protest that...so those people in turn are discriminating against those with a different opinion...makes sense! (not) By saying negative things about this business they are in effective trying to force their views on others...something they say they don't want others doing to them. But its ok if they do it to others???

    July 24, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Badly-Bent

    Time for cathy to go! Personally, I never cared for Chick-fil-A fare. So, I will continue not spending my money there.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Air Power

    I respect Chick-Fil-A so much more now. I will visit their store more frequently when given the chance. I realy hope they come to Washington state. We need more conservatives that aren't afraid to stand up for their beliefs. I love their Southern Chicken Sandwhich. The sweet tea is excellent. It's funny how so many LGBT freaks are up in arms over what one business man states is his and his own companies religious and political belief. It's called the First Amendment, you LGBT'ers! I'm glad you are all boycotting Chick-Fil-A...now I can eat without having to look at some abnormality.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • OpenUReyes

      Glad to hear you support the American Christian Taliban movement, but you may have second thoughts when they come after you!

      July 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mave

      You are a disgrace to humanity. May you live to be a hundred with horrible diseases!

      July 24, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Send in the clowns.

    My kids hated the muppets. Unless you are a liberal clown the muppets ceased to be entertaining long ago. Bury them along with Jim Henson.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jason

    To all the people suggesting that Mr. Cathy's comments are benign consider this ... His company has donated over 2 million dollars to anti-gay organizations. That is the dividing line between voicing a "belief" and funding hatred.

    Among the many groups to receive donations through Chick-fil-A's WinShape Foundation, which was created by Chick-fil-A founder and chairman S. Truett Cathy in 1984, were the Marriage & Family Foundation ($1,188,380), Exodus International ($1,000) and the Family Research Council (also $1,000)

    How many homeless people could have been sheltered..how many hungry children fed? 2 million would go a long way in helping so many truly important causes then ensuring gay people won't be allowed to marry... just sayn

    July 24, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seamusgirl

      Really, when will the organizations for gay folk give up their money to the homeless, the abused children, the folks who are desparate for medical care? Do they have missions? Soup kitchens? Free clinics? Or is it all going the Rosie Cruises? (by the way, I really like her).So there is plenty of using money for ones own purposes going around. Mr Cathy earns his money he can give it to whomever he wishes as can you and I

      July 24, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Send in the clowns.

      And because you disagree with their beliefs it makes them anti gay. Mmmm Chick Fil a is soo delicious.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Missknowitall

    Let me also make something clear, I answer to only one authority, HIS! ALso that is the only authority to be concerned about. So i do not let a resteraunteer dictate my belief (we agree on this one) but not because Mr. Chik said so okay. So if you are on the other side of this remember this guy is only expressing an opinion. He is not setting up Breeder/Gay sections in his restaurants, he is not saying "if you are guy dont buy my stuff", he is saying what he interprets from the Bible. Dont hate on that yall. Just embrace th fact we all have choices. Again my adorable, intelligent, wonderful stepson "came out" this year. I am not going to "fix" him, " deprogram' him , or lecture him about my belief. I am going to love him and pray for him as anyone prays for their children on a daily basis. So , thanks for letting me get that out. 🙂 All one needs is Love.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Missknowitall

    that should have been a SMILEY FACE 🙂

    July 24, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Liz

    I love their food but I'm not giving them a dime knowing that those dimes go to intolerance groups. Thats most people's problems with what the guy said. No one has a problem with their personal beliefs, with the true aspects of christainity that they hold too like respect for others what they have a problem with is the fact they're turning their back on the very things they pride themselves on. Chik Fil A prides themselves on respect, love, tolerance and all that really is important to the christian religion but then they turn around and give money to intolerant borderline hate groups like Defense of Marriage groups. Those groups base none of their beliefs on facts much less christian religion. Its one thing to be christian and loving its another to say you are and then turn around and support hatred for other consenting adults that aren't doing anything to you.

    Plead with Chik Fil A to use their money for good like Habitat for Humanity, Children's Charities, Christian Charities like sending kids on sabaticals or to help other countries. Plead with them to forgo giving your money to hate and intolerance groups!

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

      Who is being intolerant? Not you right?

      July 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Oh come on. It is not intolerance. Just because people choose to live an alternative lifestyle does not mean that it is now mandatory that we all have to accept it as right. We are allowed to disagree, and that's what it is......disagreement, not intolerance.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • ThaGerm

      Excellent points Liz!

      July 24, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • What a Idiot!

      I am assuming that you were SO involved that you haven't patronized Chick-fil-a in decades or ever, right?

      July 24, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jkhur

      What an individual chooses to believe is one thing, but when that citizen uses his position and money to actively work towards denying his fellow citizen's their civil rights, he crosses the line into intolerance.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
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