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. YeahRight

    "Who do gays give to? Their own causes only. If is about AIDS, they donate, but do they give to the starving masses around the world? No. Christians help orphans, AIDS patients, drill water wells around the world, feed the impovershed. A very selfish group all around. Name me one non-gay issue that a large gay group supports. You can't."

    Why do Christians have to lie like this? Obviously you don't know the gay community very well. Most of the gays and lesbians I know do Charitable work and they adopt the orphans no one wants. Seriously get an education.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      An 'education' never made anyone more moral, why then do you say, "get an education?" What meaneth this?

      July 27, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • mike

      YeahRight: Abused young boys that's what they don't care about, just ask the catholic church!!

      August 4, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. J0nx

    Well my daughter won't ever be watching anything Muppets based again. 2 can play that game. Something tells me Henson will get the shorter end of that stick. No pun intended.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • myreply

      true, there are so many other things kids can do like play outside instead of be entertained by puppets

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

      lol you're so simple, chick fil a doesnt care about you, neither do the muppets

      July 24, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ron

      What a joke. Are you kidding? Someone should boycott you because of this ignorant statement then.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • DrBob66

      Boycotting love and acceptance I see. Great lesson for your daughter. She will turn out as hateful as you.

      August 4, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      But I bet they still what NCIS CSI Vampire shows though, huh

      August 4, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • ogre12

      I have a strong feeling that you are right.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. cbtx67

    Chick Fil A should stick to what it knows best, serving dried out overpriced chicken and soggy wraps. Your not open on Sundays either? I'm sure some other place will be glad to get my money. I don't go to Lowes because they bowed to pressure not to have Muslim commmercials and I won't go to your place either. I'll miss the waffle fries, but some things are more important than waffle fries. Muppets forever!

    July 24, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Panties

    Let them eat Cake.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. YeahRight

    "They don't push their lifestyle on me and nor do I push my lifestyle on them. We just disagree"

    You are pushing your lifestyle on them when you vote to deny them their basic civil right to get married. 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."

    July 24, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg Abbott

      Horse manure......

      July 25, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • ogre12

      no it is about getting off the fence and taking a stand for what you believe in..there is no grey area here. It is either you stand up for your Christian values, or if you have none and subscribe to gays/atheists values. At the end of the day it is all about what you stand for in life but choose wisely because on the end day that may bite you in the privates.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. myreply

    ok, what happened to freedom of speech? chick-fi-a can stand for traditional values if it wants to. it's not a popular stance in modern society but still a freedom in USA. i personally love their waffle fries and cole slaw.

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

      Irrelevant. This isn't about somebody trying to stop this guy from stating his beliefs, it's about the consequences that come from stating those beliefs.

      Like it or not, there is also freedom for those who believe his position is discriminatory to make their voices heard as well.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • ThatDCGuy

      Yup, and we are free to protest, take our business elsewhere, and try to lobby you to support Everyone's rights, not just your own

      July 24, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • DrBob66

      They are free to have their opinion, as hate filled and bigoted as it is, but to donate millions to recognized hate groups is just disgusting. What if they gave money to the KKK, also a hate group. Do you people not understand how disgusting and Anti-American this is? And how Anti-Christian it is? It's so very sad.

      August 4, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • ogre12

      myreply – I love their Christian values and though I am not a big fan of fast food I will make it the only place to stop to get quick food in the future except on Sunday of course 🙂

      August 6, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Nita

    Let me get this right, a private business owner was asked a question and he answered it honestly. He said such horrible things as I believe in traditional marriage! Oh the horror! This business runs debt free, employees thousands of people and they all get SUnday off to worship how they please! Who the heck does he think he is? On the other hand we have a company such as the Muppets that are manufactured in China by a government that over works, under pays and basically tells you your reproduction rights....a country where yes you are free to be gay but must hide your head in shame because they to support traditional family values. From half of your Walmart items to your expensive Coach purses all are manufactured in China.

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

      "a country where yes you are free to be gay but must hide your head in shame because they to support traditional family values."

      I'm confused because you seem to be talking about the U.S. in this statement.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Aristocles

    All of this publicity is helping Chick-fil-A. Really. It went from being a tiny little nothing company to a $4 billion a year enterprise, which is probably a lot more than the Muppets are making. Yes, many if not most major companies are making overtures to the gays, a handful are even going out of their way to accommodate them, but most do little more than to pay lip service. It doesn't matter. As long as Chick-fil-A obeys the laws, pays its taxes, and continues to serve good food and maintain good service, it will continue to grow and prosper. I'd go there if they had one near me.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Larry

    I will support Chck-Fil-A and am glad they are standing for what is right and decent.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • QS

      I love that conservatives consider discrimination right and decent....as long as it involves gay people.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • DrBob66

      Larry, they give millions to known hate groups, hate groups on the same list as the KKK. This is what you are saying you support?

      August 4, 2012 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      HYPOCRITE!!!! What doe the bible teach?? Hate those who you disagree with, I don't think so. GOD is the ultimate judge NOT man!!! So stop acting like a false prophet and love thy neighbors not he RELIGIOUS beliefs.

      August 4, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. justanotherguy60

    The mayor of Boston sure opened up a big can of worms (chickens love them). Unless his city council can show it would be bad business to have any company wanting to set up shop, then they are just in much of committing a violation by its own standards. This shows as much hate towards a company and being discriminatory.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • OpenUReyes

      In Boston there are laws in the books that prohibit discrimination against gays, if a business wants to do business in both Boston, and Massachusetts they have to follow the laws on human rights. Which means Chick-fil-A, would have to follow the LAW, which they wouldn't, so no restaurant in Massachusetts, get it?

      July 24, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Native Pride

    I watched a lot of muppets as a kid, and never recall seeing anything about gay muppets. What does being gay have to do with kermit, fozzy or gonzo. I though tthe muppets were geared toward kids? So is Jim Henson Company going to come out with some gay muppets?

    July 24, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • QS

      Typical – skew the context to make it all about being gay, rather than what it was stated as – inclusion of all.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Aristocles

    The only people who aren't going to Chick-fil-A are those who likely don't go to these sorts of restaurants in the first place. This is giving them a ton of free publicity, and will likely give them more customers as a result. When people go there and see that it isn't a nest of hatred and fanaticism, they will probably go back there again and again to eat the good chicken.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Oh boy

    Biblical definition? Just shows what morrons biblethumpers are, most of their "biblical" men they are referring to hhad 4 or 5 wives, whhat a joke.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • GLADD sucks (whatever floats their boat)

      better than four or five guys..

      July 24, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. OpenUReyes

    John, go ahead and follow your false Prophets, and see what happens, Matthew 24:24!

    July 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • EndTheHate

      2 Peter 2:1-3
      But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them —bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

      Please don't try to forbid marriage amongst those our Lord God created gay...

      1 Timothy 4:1-5
      Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know
      the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

      July 24, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rita

    I had never even heard of Chic-fil-A until this! I don't care about his political positions or where he spends his money. If that is what he believes in. No one will ever change his mind or the minds of similar people. There are so many other things we should be focusing on.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
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