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

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

    Our country was founded on equal civil rights and the gay community is being denied their civil right to get married. 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."

    July 24, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • founders1791

      WRONG – you missed that first history class about THE PILGRIMS who came to American in 1620 to ESCAPE RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tired of it

    So, it's okay to display and vocalize your beliefs as long as you're not Christian. No one at Chick Fil A said you had to be a Christian to eat there. She isn't campaigning for people to change or imposing her beliefs on anyone else....the CEO simply answered a direct question about her beliefs. Just as Christians are expected to be tolerant of tbeliefs of others, those same people need to have the same respect for Christians.

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

      Another "beliefs should be respected no matter what" argument. I refuse to respect a belief that allows a person to justify discrimination on any level. Religion and its followers must earn that respect. The notion that religion should be respected for no other reason than it is religion needs to go away.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me too

      I totally agree. Did everyone not notice they are always closed on Sundays for Christian reasons? They did not encourage any hate. It is everyone else showing all the hate towards them. They simply stated their opinion.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • GLADD sucks (whatever floats their boat)

      right maybe gays should learn to respect someone elses beliefs and choices just as they are "requiring" us to unconditionally accept their beliefs. remember they only want the american public to believe that their opinion is the only one we should base a decision on and oh by the way its not a decision. its a way of live that we all must accept. ya right.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      "Did everyone not notice they are always closed on Sundays for Christian reasons? They did not encourage any hate. "
      They are giving money to groups who encourage the hate. That's what this is about. Didn't you read it? It doesn't say on their sign WE GIVE MONEY TO HATE GROUPS now does it? People wouldn't want to eat there if that got out.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • DrBob66

      They give millions to hate groups, hate groups on the same list as the KKK. This is what is so disgusting and why people are so upset. They can say whatever they want, as bigoted and hateful as it is, but to support known hate groups is just plain disgusting. Is this really what you want to support? Groups that hate like the KKK?

      August 4, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. YeahRight

    ". If that is what he believes in. No one will ever change his mind or the minds of similar people."

    Wrong, people have changed their minds which is why 5 states have legalized gay marriage, because they understand the REAL facts about the gay community. Duh!

    July 24, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      All Chick-Fil-A needs to do is stop giving money to hate groups, and they can have their company back in one piece.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Samuel R. Preston, III

    We had muppet last night for dinner. Tastes like chicken.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Animal

      I had your mom last night. Tasted like chicken.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. YeahRight

    "Just as Christians are expected to be tolerant of tbeliefs of others, those same people need to have the same respect for Christians."

    So when African Americans and women were being denied their civil rights would you still say this same lame argument. Duh!

    July 24, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • melanie

      No, last time I checked being black/white/other and or man/or woman was not a choice we were born that way. On the other hand being gay or straight is a CHOICE and a learned behavior.One can choose to explore that world or not! It is just like being a smoker, you don't have to be one!

      July 24, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      "being gay or straight is a CHOICE and a learned behavior" What I'm hearing is that you think it would be easy to turn gay, and you assume it's that way for us. Nope, I'd puke. I don't care what gay people do, but don't make me watch. If you could "choose" to be gay, you are gay. It's not a choice for me. Any guy who could put on a dress and go out to the bars has some sort of malfunction IMHO.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Janet

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

    The Biblical condemnation of homosexuality is based on human ignorance, suspicion of those who are different, and an overwhelming concern for ensuring the survival of the people. Since the Bible regards homosexuality as a capital crime, it clearly assumes that homosexuality is a matter of free choice, a deliberate rebellion against God. We have learned from modern science that people do not choose to be gay or straight; hence it is neither logical nor moral to condemn those whose nature it is to be gay or lesbian.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reba

      who cares!

      July 24, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      If they can't choose to be gay, then it is genetic right? And if it is genetic, it must be passed from parent to offspring. However, if an individual is gay then they can't reproduce. So how can the gene(s) be passed on to a different generation? Think about it....

      July 24, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • billy

      If god didnt do it and its not genetic, then it must be a developmental defect.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Name

      your thought process is a developmental defect founded on ignorance.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ellen

      @Janet The bible also tells us that incest is fine, marriage between a man and multiple women is ok, slavery is great, and child support is encouraged. It's great that people so selectively choose to endorse some parts, but conveniently ignore others. Times are changing and relationships are evolving. If you don't like gay marriage, then just don't do it. Don't interfere with other peoples' happiness. What gives you that right? A centuries old fiction novel? Shame.

      July 24, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Collette

      You are brilliant!

      July 25, 2012 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Publius

      We have also learned from modern science that pedophiliacs do not choose their orientation–people such as Sandusky.Is is logical or moral to condemn him?

      July 25, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
    • DriftSS

      @Janet - your modern science has not established that fact. Modern science merely has some theories, which cut both ways...none of which have been conclusively proven. Just like global warming also has not been scientifically proven to be the case...just certain people can only see one side of the evidence...

      July 25, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Greg Abbott

      There are NO definative studies, scientific or otherwise that supports THAT conclusion. They DO choose to be gay but only as a result of childhood environment and influence during the developmental years prior to puberty. Quit selling your version of modern science.

      July 25, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve Lyons

      Modern science has not identified a gay gene. Please rethink your claim.

      July 25, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • TooClose2DC

      You are worng about what science has learned. Science has stated that pre-determination is not pre-destination. In other words Janet, if someone genetically likes something, that doesn't mean that they will engage in that behavior. That finding was by the leader of the Human Genome Project.

      July 25, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Junebug

      Logical or not, your religious beliefs do not have to be the same as someone else's. That's called freedom. I think muslims have immoral beliefs, but I still love eating at the local kabob place.

      July 26, 2012 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
    • nottolate

      "We have learned from modern science that people do not choose to be gay or straight"

      We've learned no such thing nor can you demonstrate that. Your entire post is the most brazen of lies.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • lolatthiscountry

      Modern science? haha

      July 26, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • DrBob66

      Amen. Nicely said Janet!

      August 4, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • ogre12

      Janet I suggest you do not try to quote scripture in which you do not believe in the first place to defend your position. If you want to know about REAL science come with me and my family to meet him in His House on Wednesday or Sunday.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. levi

    I wonder what the cows have to say about this?

    July 24, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Hugh Jass

    I drove past Chick-Fil-A and ate at KFC Saturday. Guess what? They have a new chicken nugget very much like Chick-Fil-A's.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. i12bphil

    Funny, I was under the impression that one of the fundamental principles of America was the freedom to have your own personal beliefs. I didn't realize we were now a country where your personal beliefs were subject to only being permitted as long as they completely conform to "liberal" requirements. Interesting how freedom is suddenly conditional. You can be coerced into bending to the will of others and liberty means only the liberty to capitulate to liberal definitions. Liberals should change the nomenclature for their ideology, since they don't even come close to grasping the concept of liberty.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      "they don't even come close to grasping the concept of liberty." Sorry, I can't hear you over my awesome freedom to boycott your chicken shack.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • frmrma

      @i12bphil – No one is saying he can't have his opinion. Everyone is allowed to voice their own opinion, and everyone should expect to face the backlash of doing so. That is all that is happening here. Basically, you sound like you are whining that others' opinions of this scenario should be oppressed.

      I'm very happy that the Jim Henson Company has decided to no longer do business with them, since they are standing up for what they believe as well. It is especially fitting that they are donating the money they earned from Chik-fil-A to gay organizations. I can't even begin to imagine how angry that must make Dan Cathy. And bravo to Menino for taking a stand as well. Afterall, everyone is allowed their own opinion, right?

      July 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • GLADD sucks (whatever floats their boat)

      yes and chick-fil-a should have the awesome freedom to deny service anyone they see fit, including gays if they wish. eye for an eye.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. The Bible is a book of badly written fairy tales

    Who would want to eat at a Chick-Fil-A? Their food is crap.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • What???

      I do and will continue because they have no fear of bullies like you!

      July 25, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Native Pride

    I keep seeing a plethora or people complaining about Chick o filet and clammoring "boycot". But yet, bank at Bank of America or HSCB, or buy some electronic/clothes/product made by someone in China for .40 cents an hour. It's hard to take them serious.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. QS

    This news is almost, almost as welcome as hearing that Major League Soccer will no longer partner with the Boy Scouts thanks to their discriminatory policy! 🙂

    Everybody remember, just having the right to say what you want does not exempt you from the consequences of the things you say.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Max

    All gay people do is cry, like little cry babies. They are so attention seeking 🙁

    July 24, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Animal

      Your mom's attention-seeking, too.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MAria

    Guess Miss Piggy, Fozzy, and Kermit said they aren't having it...They support all types of people...but I am sure its Bert and Ernie that were offended the most by Cathy's comments..LOL...#a mess LOL. I mean they have a right to feel like they want if you don't agree then don't eat there. Cathy is seeing you can say what you want to the public and media but at what cost??? But as a Christian he shoud NOT feel bad about expressing his views and why he operates this very profitable business the way he does. They do have fast friendly service and pretty good food though

    July 24, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Animal

      "They support all types of people...but I am sure its Bert and Ernie that were offended the most by Cathy's comments..LOL."
      How Christian of you to imply that. Jesus must be proud of you for learning your lesson so well.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. don't get this

    I really don't understand why Chic-fil-A felt the need to weigh in on this topic in the first place.
    Aren't they a "business"–i don't care if a person is purple with orange stripes. If they come
    to you to buy food what does it matter about their personal beliefs? I just don't understand at all
    the compulsion to get political. I didn't know chicken was political now. I haven't had fast food in
    years–i guess i've lost track of all the new chemical ingredients in processed food. seriously-
    this seems ridiculous to me. i never was a customer here(rarely do fast food at all!) but i don't
    understand this. and as for the muppets what do you expect that company to do? They are not in the political arena
    and chick-fil-a and their big mouth just completely associated the muppets with their stance. I would
    have backed off too. . . . .bad bad move for chick-fil-a's long term business. This will not be good.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charles

      there's bigger things to talk about. I'm still a chick fil a fan.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • unknown11

      I agree with "don't get this". This ticked me off when I heard it. I neither support, nor do I NOT support gay marriage. I think I am like most people. However, this company decided that I essentially have to make a choice in order to eat at their stores. Well, I have chosen to get my chicken elsewhere and let them do what ever they want without my support.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • What a Idiot!

      Yess, indeed....why did the President of a Christian company go on a Christian radio porogram and answer a question that was posed to him?

      July 24, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
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