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. Abbeystone30

    Mike is a nice guy who happens to be dead wrong on this one.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. t3chsupport

    They really didn't come out and spout a bunch of hate like a lot of people with that view do. I support gay marriage, but I think this is a lot of ado about nothing. He said his belief, he didn't say he didn't like gays. It's cool to stop going to the restaurant, but condemning the man in such a harsh manner isn't helping anything.

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

    Was Jesus gay?

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

      Jesus never outright said whether he was gay or not, however, how does anyone's choice of partner in love make anyone one person better than another? I am not gay and happily married for nearly 20 years and I believe that all people are equal. Anyone who says that one is better than the other (gay or not in this case) and to treat them disrespectfully is not doing as God said–to love one another–not hate or disrespect anyone or group of people. Perhaps those who speak out against equality (marriage or other) their time would be better spent learning more about love and acceptance–the true word of God.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Observer

    Air Power,

    You said "now I can eat without having to look at some abnormality".

    What ignorant objections do you have against left-handed people?

    July 24, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Allen McIver

    Since Gay People probably shouldn't marry Straight People, they should be allowed to marry other Gay People. Otherwise you are denying them the right to marry. Tolerance is granting other people the same rights you demand for yourself. If you actually READ the bible (like Jon Stewart did on his show) you see it doesn't say what you think it says.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jesse Moll

      Where in the Bible does it say that?

      July 24, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike hunt

      right, cause for thousands of years no one has read the bible till John Stewart.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Howard

    Huckabee's upset at "the vitriolic assaults" on Chick-fil-A, but apparently has nothing to say about the vitriolic attacks on gays and lesbians ... the hypocrite.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • twinelms

      Better review the definition of the word hypocrite. Huckabee is not one.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. twinelms

    Henson should replace the wall outlets in her home with male connectors. See how that works for you.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |

    lol this is funny. So the muppets are backed by folks with mental issues.... hahaha

    Call a turkey a cow.... doesn't matter it's still a turkey.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bryan Rowland

    What makes Cathy's comments so disgusting is that he made it very clear that he was speaking as a representative of Chick-Fil-A. This man should be immediately fired solely on the grounds of putting his company and Franchise Owners in the middle of a political dabate that I am sure they did not want. I am sure that they will see a hefty increase in business over the next month or so, but after their supporters go back to their regular eating habits, they will see a net loss of customers long term because of this man's comments on behalf of Chick-Fil-A. I proudly will not eat at Chick-Fil-A until this man is gone. Between me, my wife, and three son's, that is a net loss of about $75 a month that we used to spend on the Albuquerque Chick-Fil-A. Not a lot of money, but I know I am not alone!

    July 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • twinelms

      My family will eat more Chick to more than compensate for your absence.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Dalloway

      Thank you!

      July 24, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jubril

      You can take your money else where , I will eat at Chick-fil-A, he did not say any hateful stuff , he only said marriage is between a man and a woman

      July 24, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • What a Idiot!

      HOw exactly do you go about firing the President of a private company?

      July 24, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • What a Idiot!

      And I hve to wonder why you were spending so much money supporting this company when you knew where he was donating his money...

      July 24, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JSaunders

    I don’t get it…..

    Just because someone says that he supports the traditional family; does that make him discriminatory? I think not. It just says that he supports the traditional family. He’s not forcing anyone else to line up to his way of thinking.

    These gay supporters are just like Madeline Murray O’Hare; expecting and forcing EVERYONE else to line up to their way of thinking.

    They want their preference to be foisted on everyone else. Everyone has to be tolerant of THEIR stance. Where is THEIR tolerance? Why can’t they keep their opinions to themselves and allow the same freedoms they are grasping for themselves?

    July 24, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lola

    I like the food and service from Chick-fil-A. The CEO of Chick-fil-A would probably not agree with me b/c I have not upheld the Biblical version of marriage....but, I do not care. If I want a chicken sandwich served with a smile, there's only one place to go and that's Chick-fil-A.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mrs. KATZ

    It's one thing to stick to a conservative definition of marriage. I'ts quite another to donate heavily to hate groups the way these chick-fil-a owners have been doing.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • twinelms

      Hate groups? You're not a member are you?

      July 24, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Donna

    Mike Huckabee describes this company as ascribing to "godly" values. God discriminates against his own people?

    July 24, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • twinelms

      Better read Romans 1.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      No, God doesn't discriminate against his own people. It's also a bad idea to let old men marry and abuse young girls, and you'll find that God, and most human beings, agree with that. That's also not to say that God discriminates against old men. So your statement is faulty, in my opinion.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mister Jones

    I just looked for one, and it said that I had to drive 400 miles to Idaho to find the nearest one. ... I am considering making a road trip this weekend because I truly appreciate a company actually saying what they feel, and not bowing down to the social pressures to conform to someones re-definition of a long-standing tradition.

    Just because you like something, doesn't mean everyone has to.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • OpenUReyes

      Good, then you can drive your gas guzzling SUV 800 miles to prove a point, then the gas you waste will help finance anti-Christian Middle Eastern governments, it all makes so much sense!

      July 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    I wonder if they'll ever come out with a Chick-Fil-A action figure doll. They could call it "Chatty Cathy".

    July 24, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
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