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. QS

    I was in Louisiana in February with a group of friends. They all wanted to eat at this restaurant for lunch one day. I was the only one who didn't. I didn't force the other 9 people in our group to eat somewhere else simply because I didn't want to eat there on principle – but I wasn't about to spend any money there myself.

    I only hope that a few months later some of those in my group are beginning to understand why I chose not to eat there that day.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dano

    Once again, if your views contrast those of the liberals, negative repercussions must occur.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry carter

      You are right on.... Lesbians and gays are a group that exist only as a perveted group...They exist and grow only by recruiting others as they can not normally reproduce...We will not see any of these people in heaven...regardless of how they try to reinterpet the bible....

      July 24, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jkhur

      Or maybe if it's that your views are based on absurd prejudice and denying your fellow citizens their civil rights just becasue you don't like them negative consequences should occur.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ardrukha

    I hate it that now I can't eat at Chik-fil-a because it's become so politicized. If you eat there, you are automatically seen as anti-gay marriage, which is just stupid.
    I'm for gay marriage, but I'm also for Cathy's rights to say what he wants without fear of being bullied into taking it back.
    I purchase stuff from companies ALL THE TIME, EVERY DAY whom I don't agree with politically, and if any of you Chick-fil-a boycotting liberals have shopped at Target or Wal-Mart or any large company that puts profits before people lately, then you are being a hypocrite.

    Sometimes a chicken sandwich is just a chicken sandwich.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • denver

      If your enjoyment of the chicken outweighs your social convictions, that's fine. For me and others, however, it does not. Sorry if people pick on you about it.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pennylanie

      My thoughts exactly!!! I am all for gay marriage, but I am also for straight marriage. I am free to believe how I choose to and think others should be free to as well. It is the owner's opinion... who cares. It is getting crazy that this man's personal opinion is getting so much attention, both negative and positive.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peppermint

      I completely agree. I'm glad to see there's some people with a little sense left.

      It would be nice if they didn't donate to any "anti- people" groups though.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • FreedomToVoiceOppinion

      Well Said.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kitty LeS

      Ardrukha's comment seems to be one of the sanest I've read here, and I'm a "flaming liberal".

      July 24, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dano

    Confucius says: Rump Rangers must eat chicken elsewhere…

    July 24, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dano

    Not the Muppets!!! Who’s next the Village People??? McDonald’s does not share my view of hiring qualified associates, but I still eat there. Gays are so miserable with themselves that any little issue climbs up and festers in their in box.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      It's a shame how the left... and gays... have changed wording as anything that doesn't share their opinion is HATRED!!! The fact that the man expressed his positive affirmation for traditional marriage does not mean he expressed HATRED!!! In FACT most of the people who are running around expressing HATRED is the left!

      July 24, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • YeahRight

      "It's a shame how the left... and gays... have changed wording as anything that doesn't share their opinion is HATRED!!!"

      Denying someone their civil rights based on prejudice beliefs is hatred. Heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. The 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."

      Social science has shown that the concerns often raised about children of lesbian and gay parents—concerns that are generally grounded in prejudice against and stereotypes about gay people—are unfounded. Overall, the research indicates that the children of lesbian and gay parents do not differ from the children of heterosexual parents in their development, adjustment, or overall well-being.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Chantel

    I have learned a few things reading this article....I will have Chick-Fil-A for dinner and I will never live in Boston.

    To each their own. My step-daughter is a lesbian and in a committed relationship with a really nice girl. I have first hand experience with the lifestyle and I am still opposed but I do not force my opinion on her or anyone else.

    But the statements by Chick-Fil-A and the Boston mayor just sealed the deal on who I will support.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • OpenUReyes

      Too bad you'll never be able to experience the tolerance from a city like Boston, but its your loss.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peppermint

      You just made the Boston mayor very happy.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jeff

    As usual regarding this subject, the only intolerant, discriminatory hate-mongers are the pro-gay-lifestyle lobby. Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy did not say anyone was not welcome in their restaurants, or that any employees were in any trouble. He just stated his personal beliefs. But Boston Mayor Thomas Menino says his city is at the "forefront of inclusion", except for Christians, apparently. If you are of a different faith or belief system than Mr. Menino "you can't have a business in this city". Talk about major discrimination. And the Jim Henson Company promotes diversity, but I guess only if you happen to agree with them, otherwise your free speech rights (and religious freedom rights) are null and void. Isn't it amazing, in a nation where you can burn a flag and pretty much every anything can be said or published without censorship, the only speech that doesn't seem to be protected is Christian speech. I guess in Boston the round-up of "undesireables" will begin – Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc – and be sent to "the camps".

    July 24, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • OpenUReyes

      Jeff, its called Human Rights, just because you live in a place where you have no tolerance, doesn't mean other places should be like your community.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alexandria VA

      Very well said Jeff!! On all points, very well thought out.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elvis

      Very well said. Thank You

      July 24, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • YeahRight

      "Talk about major discrimination"

      Oh please it's the gay community that is being denied their civil rights. Marriage was defined by the US Supreme Court as a civil right. Recognized federal civil rights law in the United States is grounded in the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court. By this standard, marriage has long been established as a civil right.

      The operative constitutional text is section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1868. The relevant passages read as follows:

      No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws

      A federal appeals court on May 31st ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional because it denies equal rights for legally married same-sex couples, making it likely that the Supreme Court will consider the politically divisive issue for the first time in its next term. This most likely will be decided in the courts and since most courts keep ruling in gays favor they should be able to over turn all the unconstitutional laws prejudice bigots have been trying to pass.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peppermint

      As long as they are only rounding up the hateful groups that don't want equality for all, that'd be ok with me.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    It's amazing to me how the left shows their hatred... when hatred was never spoken by Cathy. He just affirmed what he believed... It is EXTREMELY RARE that Christians show hated towards gays. And those that do are on the extreme side which do not represent Christianity. Gay's don't like to hear the argument because they lose the debate every time... but are we all to except poligamy now? WE MUST EXCEPT it or we are labelled as raciest? Why don't gay people except it if they are so open minded.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • OpenUReyes

      Really Mike; Have you ever heard an Evangelistic Preacher speak, its all about hatred towards gays, and disbelievers, there is rarely any tolerance shown from the mouths of these false prophets.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. denver

    I get a kick out of all the people who are incredulous over this boycott. The fact that Chick-fil-a is happy to accept money from gay people does very little to mitigate the reality that then *spend that money funding anti-gay causes*.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Stan

    It's funny how when someone stands up for principles that the USA and Canada where I live were founded on, now is getting shunned and looked down apon. Way to go Dan Cathy. The Lord will bless you, your family and your business for many many years to come. It used to be everyone stood up for these principles now you get looked down upon for what once the norm.. It simply shows how society is going down the tube.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mike C

    These comments are hilarious.

    Also, since I found out that Chick-Fil-A supports such hatred filled groups who fight against my right to marry, I've been telling everyone I know to not eat there. About a month ago a new Chick-Fil-A opened about three blocks from my apartment complex and I have been steadily informing all of my co-workers and friends to not eat there because of their toxic views on the rights of people like me. Chick-Fil-A has lost well over 2 dozen customers just from my word of mouth and will lose many more.

    As for all of you "Christians" who say The Jim Henson Company is "discriminating" against you, look up the word: "To make distinctions on the basis of class or category without regard to individual merit; show preference or prejudice". Prejudice is the key word. Chick-Fil-A has always been an openly Christian company, and Jim Henson Co. has had no qualms about that (hence why they partnered with them in the first place). It was when they decided to let their money go to people who trample on other's basic rights as human beings that they took issue, and decided to discontinue a partnership.

    I'm not sure where you whackjobs are getting that Jim Henson Co. somehow is discriminating against Christians. Christians are not suffering in any way, shape or form because of this broken partnership. Chick-Fil-A is suffering by not getting advertising (on the Muppet Show) and merchandising (for their kid's meals).

    On the flip side, profits that go to Chick-Fil-A are funding hate groups that say I cannot get married to the love of my life, denying me basic couple's rights (like Social Security survivor and insurance benefits) and generally calling me every name they can think of (I've seen everything from "pedophile" to "mentally sick" thrown at the LGBT community from these groups).

    Learn to understand basic English before throwing a "nuh-uh you're the one doing [X]!"

    July 24, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • What a Idiot!

      I bet your 'friends' and co workers think you're a loon.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Peter

    Mike wrote:

    "Gay's don't like to hear the argument because they lose the debate every time... but are we all to except poligamy now? WE MUST EXCEPT it or we are labelled as raciest? Why don't gay people except it if they are so open minded."

    What? Aside from the rampant misspellings, what is this stuff about polygamy (that is how it is spelled, by the way)?
    What does polygamy have to do with being gay?

    Look, I don't care what the owners of this place think. They have a right to believe what they want.

    But the question is: Do they take their personal biases to their hiring practices and insurance coverage of employees?

    July 24, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      And that was my point which you didn't include in your comments... they don't discriminate against people on who they hire or who they serve. And please don't give me crap about spelling something wrong in a freakin' blog... That' pretty weak.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Putty

    I think gay folks should have the exact same rights as straight folks. If a gay man wants to marry a women, he can. If a straght man wants to marry a man, he can't. Equal rights, right?

    July 24, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jkhur

      Um, nope – don't work that way.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Peter

    "The Lord will bless you, your family and your business for many many years to come"

    Yeah, so much for love your neighbor as yourself, denying someone their civil rights isn't worth blessing!

    July 24, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • I'm Sick of hypocrisy too

      You are calling good evil and evil good. That was something that the Lord Jesus Christ declared a woe upon, as recorded in the gospels. And it is He that has all authority, not YOU. If you think you do, you are hopelessly arrogant and on your way to Hell, despite what you think.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • I'm Sick of hypocrisy too

      Peter, you are calling good evil and evil good. That was something that the Lord Jesus Christ declared a woe upon, as recorded in the gospels. And it is He that has all authority, not YOU. If you think you do, you are hopelessly arrogant and on your way to Hell, despite what you think.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. NorCalMojo

    So much for live and let live. I guess it's ok to discriminate against people and companies for their political and social opinions.

    Turn about is fair play.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
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