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. Steven Gaynor

    Chick-Fil-A just lost a LOT of business! They may have to cancel any plans to expand into northern, west or east coast states.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Selfish IsADisease

      Yaaaaaawn!

      July 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • emerya

      I don't think Chick-Fil-A has anything to worry about

      July 24, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Scott

    Apparently, tolerance is expected from conservatives, but those supporting gay & lesbian unions don't have to practice such tolerance toward those who don't have the same beliefs. Shouldn't tolerance work both ways? If you don't like the restaurant's stance, it's pretty easy. Don't go there. If you agree with their stance. Support their restaurant. If they are supposed to be tolerance of your views, then the converse is also true. Be tolerant of theirs. DUH!

    July 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      Exactly!

      July 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Selfish IsADisease

      Scott –
      You know that, I know that and millions of Decent Americans know that. But you'll never convince a terminally stupid liberal.
      Don't forget – the same people who support an unnatural, deviant lifestyle ALSO support the 53 MILLION abortions so far in America. People who butcher their own babies are beyond help!

      July 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeb

      There is nothing wrong with being intolerant of intolerance.

      Check your logic.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sandy

      Bingo, Scott...couldn't have said it better myself! Kudos to Chik-fil-A for standing up for its beliefs in this wishy-washy world of ours where everyone else just goes with what's popular at the moment.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duder

      Scott-
      So they're intolerant of your intolerance eh? LOL

      July 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • LG

      Agreed, I feel that Christians are the most discriminated group by all means. Scott you said it well, christian beliefs are not tolerated at all BUT when christians express their intolerance to things that oppose their beliefs then the stones start flying. No one is boycotting the atheist company, no one is boycotting the extreme cult, but when "Joe Holy" stands up for what he believes those that oppose his viewpoints get violently angry. Wow! Seems like a double standard to me and clearly what I call "reverse prejudice".

      July 24, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Decline

      Amen Scott. Why should only one side have to be tolerant? Cant believe this is a topic of conversation when millions are out of work and the national debt is spiraling out of control. Not to mention the civil unrest all over the world which threatens global stability. But hey, boycott a man for answering a question truthfully cause thats whats important right now.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      Hey Jeb, did the stop serving gay customers? Did they infringe on your right to commet sodomy? As far as I'm concerned, call yourselves marriage. The government may recognize it but the people who established it and half the world won't recognize it so nothing has changed.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elmer Fudd

      emerya

      I don't think Chick-Fil-A has anything to worry about

      Me either. There are plenty of backwards ignorant rednecks out there.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • chelle

      Supporters of gay rights are supposed to tolerate prejudice and discrimination? There is a large difference between toleration of differences and accepting discriminatory actions. Under your premise, blacks and women should have just accepted the unequal treatment accorded them.

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

      I certainly don't expect conservatives to be tolerant. I expect Conservatives to be hate-filled bigots spewing ignorant trash.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jkhur

      So Americans should tolerate someone working to deny them their civil rights? He can believe what he wants, he can say what he wants, but when he crosses the line to actively fuind groups dedicated to disenfranchising their fellow citizens he crosses the line.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dianna

      "Tolerance" does not mean that you have to agree (or vote) for issues that you disagree with. Tolerance means that you allow those who disagree with you to state their opinions and voice their opinions even if you don't agree with them.. Mr. Cathy simply stated what is the opinion of many Christians, based on scripture. By refusing to allow Chick-fil-A to operate simply because its owner, is a Christian, Mayor Menino is himself discriminating. I sure hope that if Chick-fil-A, intended to open a store in Boston, it will pursue any and all avenues to ensure its right to do so.

      July 24, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • brtbrkr

      Right, people should just tolerate being discriminated against. Too bad Rosa Parks didn't agree with you.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
    • mike

      I saw no mass demonstrations except by those who thought their way of (non gay) life was threatened. Just like the 60"s.

      August 4, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. amadeo122

    The only people left eating in Chicken Filet will be domestic terrorists soon.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heavy D

      @amadeo122, terrorism is defined as the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes. Chick-fil-a is not trying to change peoples views, they simply stated what their views are. If you don't agree then don't eat there. These LGBT people are the only ones promoting terrorism.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • tbjackson25

      Only domestic terrorists? Really? I mean, I understand if you don't agree with them. That's cool and all. But for some of us, we just want to get a good chicken sandwich and don't judge the quality of that sandwich on the political views of the CEOs. And for the (I don't remember the price of the sandwich – sorry) maybe four dollars that a sandwich costs, how much of that money is really going to go to "oppressing" gays and lesbians? Whatever their views of gays and lesbians might be, Chic-fil-a has historically been more inclined to give money to charity than to putting gays and lesbians in concentration camps. I'm pretty sure that the worst that they can actually do is decide not to donate to a gay rights group, and since they do donate plenty of money to of other charitable causes, I can't see the harm in leaving one out. It's not that the hypothetical gay rights groups not getting Chic-fil-A money wouldn't deserve it, just that not every company can give to every cause. And while the company has now made their reasons for not giving to that cause in particular known (and known to be offensive), is this really changing anything? Really, will their CEO's political views, however spiteful, really make any kind of difference in the debate about gay rights? I mean, I agree that it was tasteless to make the remark, but would you really call me a domestic terrorist for eating a chicken sandwich from this restaurant chain? I could (almost) understand (and only almost) if you hated someone for voting for a politician who didn't support gay marriage, but for eating at a restaurant owned by someone who doesn't' support gay marriage – don't you think that's getting a little carried away? It
      s kind of like when Conservatives said they'd boycott the Oreo for that rainbow Oreo poster. What good would that actually do for their cause? It would just mean some people wouldn't get to enjoy a tasty snack. Either of these has revealed that all too huge a percentage of the American people have the thought capacity of small mollusks.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dianna

      Actually, when put to populate VOTE, the vast majority of Americans have agreed with Mr. Cathy.

      July 24, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • YeahRight

      "Actually, when put to populate VOTE, the vast majority of Americans have agreed with Mr. Cathy."

      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.

      Obviously those that agree with Mr Cathy don't understand the how civil rights and laws work in this country. 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 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Nick

    So it's ok to believe in something as long as it's popular with the media? Heaven forbid the leadership at Chick Fil A disagree with GLAAD!!!

    July 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • judy

      totally agree. the media is fine as long as you agree with them.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      It was a publicity stunt and the "right" bought in on it a Cathy made millions in one day and should get a monster bonus thanks to you guys. Just so he can produce hundreds of minimum wage jobs which he want to lower because it cost him to much of the bottom line. He says thanks again SUCKERS!!!

      August 5, 2012 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  5. bennydave

    Aug 1st, go eat at a Chick-fil-A to show your support.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elmer Fudd

      Aug 1st stay home and watch a muppet movie.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • brtbrkr

      True, the more fast food you eat, the sooner the problem will be solved.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
  6. Rainbird

    There is nothing Godly about hate.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • TiredODaCrap

      Exactly! Can't imagine why GLAD and it's supporters would go so far out of their way to hate the owner of a chick restaraunt!

      July 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • skean

      Just as there is nothing morally correct as hating someone whom hates.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      And there is nothing hateful about a belief that IS NOT used to discriminate. You idiots sling that hate word around inappropriately to label anything you don't like.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • VivaldisGhost

      Yeah, because God is just a big, purple dinosauer...

      July 24, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jeb

    Chick-fil-A's backward, bigoted views aside, their food is absolutely disgusting.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Duane

    I am a Christian and am taught unconditional love for everyone....this means everyone. Sad times when a company decides to take a hard stance like this not even taking into account that some of their employees are or have family members who are part of the LGBT community.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lack of Courage

      No its sad times when "so called Christians" do not have enough courage to stand up for what is biblical right and sway to public opinion to avoid ridicule.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pigs In Space

      "so called Christians"

      You got that part right.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      GREAT comment!!

      August 5, 2012 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  9. bobcat (in a hat)©

    My question is, Why do some people feel that all people must think the same way ? I mean, just because one has a different opinion than the other, why are they automatically wrong ? A lot of you people have eaten at Chik-fil-a many times, and really enjoyed the product I might add. Now the man was asked a question, and answered it honestly, and everyone wants the man crucified for his beliefs. Well here's a heads up people, there are a bunch of people who don't agree with your opinions either. Do you think we ought to ostracize you as well ?
    That's the trouble with the world today. Everybody is so steadfast in their opinions that there is no room from compromise. Kind of reminds me of our congress.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ChicagoRich

    I find it funny that those in favor of gay marriage attack those that espouse views that may be different from theirs. I don't have much of a dog in that particular fight, but I do find it ironic that those espousing diversity certainly do not seem to tolerate a diversity of opinion. It reminds me of that Miss California incident of a few years back.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rosalie

      THANK YOU for saying that. I totally agree!

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

      Why should any American tolerate someone advocating for the denial of their civil rights?

      July 24, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Alex

    I'm sure Gonxo and the chickens are happy with announcement.

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

    Huckaby is a buffoon, but I have to agree with him on this one.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Pete

    I bet Gonzo's wife is pretty happy about this!

    July 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike G

      LOL! I almost forgt about Camila the chicken was his wife. She would taste really good in that Chick-fil-A sauce.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tom

    Take your old worn out rag muppets to someplace else, Henson. Chick-fil-a was doing you a favor. Chick-fil-a isn't loosing anything. I think all this will actually increase business. And besides, Cathy said he believes in Biblical ways. He never called gays names or refused to serve them. So Henson is saying if you believe in the Bible, then we won't do business with you. That was a bad business move and they will regret that remark.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. nilla

    I wonder if Chik-fil-A realizes how much money it's lost from me alone with its "not open on Sundays" policy. It seems that's the only day I find myself in the mood for Chik-fil-A.

    My thoughts on the marriage stance? Yeah, your beliefs haven't evolved with the rest of the country, but you still make the best chicken sandwich out there. Until you start putting gay-bashing slogans on your drink cups, I'll keep buying. As long as it's not a Sunday.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • David Railfan

      And's that's what thye hope. that people will keep supporting them while they keep hating people.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lean6

      Sorry, I'm not trying to make a political or religious statement just by pulling up to a drive-thru menu. That's essentially what these people are doing now...drawing a line in the sand...over chicken! The church is supposedly already that threshold of sinner and saint. It's ok for you to assume my beliefs if you see me walk into a church...i'll GIVE you that. My soul's gotta be judged by where I eat too now?! Ridiculous!

      July 24, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • peter

      You sound like one of the Germans in the 1930's who supported Hitler: "Sure communism is bad, but unless I see swasticas on my beer steins, I'll support Hitler!"

      July 24, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Electric Mayhem

      They are closed on Sundays.
      The Sabbath is on Saturday.
      Sinners.

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