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. ted

    You know I am a 5'6 man who has been discrimated by women my whole life. You don't see short men crying out like the gays and the black. Believe me do you know how bad it hurts to hear a women pretty much say you are not man enough when the guy she is dating is taller but weights about 140 pounds? Nobody is perfect and we all are judged. Who cares what others think of you.

    July 24, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Intellegentsoul

      Because there isn't a worldwide group against short people telling them that they are wrong and will die in "hell". There was also no segregation or mass beatings/lynchings of short people. I'm sorry that people have been mean to you, but don't act like gays and blacks are complaining too much. And we gays don't care what people think, but some hating people go to far by trying to change us and sometimes even kill us.

      July 24, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • SouthernCelt

      Find yourself a 5'6 or shorter woman. there should be several to choose from, and ignore the rest.

      July 24, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Candlewycke

    Boston supports diversity by telling Chick-Fil-A they are not welcome despite being of the most diverse restaurants.

    The Muppet's will be donating money paid by Chick-fil-A to GLAAD. McDonalds targets little kids with terrible, fattening food and happy meals while Chick-Fil-A provides healthy meals to children that dont need toys to get attention.

    An organization of gay children will push people away from a healthy restaurant to probably McDonalds because the restaurant simply took a stand. They did not fire anyone, they have not changed tehir policy. They simply took a stand.

    And we are to wonder who has the real agenda here?

    Lets be clear... A private company that does remarkable well despite being closed on Sunday obeys the law, has a diverse workforce, pays tremendously well, provides college education and treats employees with respect is being demonized for having an opinion? Gay people are just people, just like you and I but Gay organization are insidious, miserable things that have the most base agenda. to force tehir view on everyone else. They do not want equality. They want to force others to abandon their opinions in favor of the agenda. And to do this they will demonize anyone that stands in their way.

    July 24, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anonymousperson

      If you think Chickfila is healthy, then you have some issues. Its still fast food. I do agree that it is probably not as bad as mcdonalds, but nobody is pushing anyone to mcdonalds, so I dont know where you got that from. And gay people arent pushing beliefs on anyone. Its Christians that tell us that were wrong and that we cant love and get married and we're going to burn in "hell" because of something we cant help.

      July 24, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • OpenUReyes

      Since you are bringing up the city of Boston, let me explain how it works up here. In this city 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 do, so no restaurant in Massachusetts, get it?

      July 24, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sofa King

      Gay children? I didn't think you could be gay or straight until you hit puberty.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      The problem is, Chic's opinions are opression an entire group of people. I'm sure when slavery was "ok" people had opinions about how it was fine to oppress people. I also think plenty of men thought it was perfectly fine that women couldn't vote. Gay's and Lesbians are just the next hurdle for society to move on from and stop discriminating against.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jmikejohnson

    I'm just going to say one thing. My friend owns a Chick-Fil-A store. I used to play softball with him at a Baptist church for years. I will always support him and his family. They're wonderful people. However, I'm an atheist and I'm pro-gay-rights. I won't be eating in his store. Although, I never did...I'm vegetarian.

    July 24, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. keep your hope and change

    Isn't it great that we live in a country where you don't have to eat at a restaurant you choose not to. Yet some feel they need to harm a company that disagrees with them on some issue rather than simply taking their business elsewhere. Ridiculously childish.

    July 24, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Naomi Needhamnaomineedham

    God bless you Mr.Caty for standing up to these people with your view point.
    And don,t worry about what the muppet people think ,and I would not put a business in Boston.
    God bless you for the way you have run your business all these years.

    July 24, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patryk

      I own a business in Texas.. I don't like religious people... Catholics, Baptists, it doesn't matter.... I am just voicing my opinion... Will you come to my place of business???? Nope... Why???... God hates you............

      July 24, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patryk

      Naomi Needham???? Sounds more like you need sausage......

      July 24, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Candlewycke

    Lets see. Chick-Fil A has been growing despite being closed on one of the most busy restaurant days.

    The Muppets have not been relevant for three decades. The last movie they released was a flop. They had to survive by being bought out by Disney. Even Sesame Street has been steadily losing viewers who prefer Thomas the Train ( a Christian cartoon by the way) or other more modern entertainment. Even the beloved Elmo is not as popular as he once was.

    So who needs who more?

    July 24, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jill

    How ironic that the Jim Henson company is bashing Chick-fil-A for not supporting diversity!!! CFA is simply holding fast to their values and beliefs without pushing an agenda on anyone else. The Henson Co. clearly defines "diversity" as people who support the gay and lesbian agenda ONLY. In reality, diversity includes people with beliefs and opinions different from everyone else, which the Henson Co. does NOT support. If they truly supported diversity, as they claim, they would respect CFA's company philosophy as one diverse from their own and not fly off the handle trying boycott and cry foul that someone has a different opinion. They are total hypocrits!

    July 24, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • 3DMan

      well said!

      July 24, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Intellegentsoul

      it depends on the way you look at it. They refuse to support a group which does NOT support diversity. If they did, they wouldn't be supporting diversity. Think about it.

      July 24, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. At Work

    While Chick is saying they believe in the Biblical definition of marriage, some of you are saying that you are simply being intolerant of intolerance.

    If that is intolerance let me ask you...is there no line that you draw? If a man wants to have multiple wives, is that okay? If a man wants to marry a minor, is that okay? If a person wants to marry an animal, does that meet your definition of marriage?

    I'm not trying to be ridiculous, I'm just pointing out, eventually you would be 'intolerant' of someone's definition of marriage based on the fact that you believe Chick-fil-A is intolerant just because of their belief in the Biblical definition of marriage.

    It isn't intolerant to say what they have said. Trying to prevent people from patronizing them because of it is.

    July 24, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wing Nuts Can't Stand The Truth

      Well let's look at the start of your slippery slope fallacy.

      Straight marriage is legal.
      Then divorce and inter-racial marriage is legal.
      Next gay marriage is legal.
      Then (according to you) incestuous, adult-child,
      human animal, polygamous etc. marriages will be legal.

      Straight marriage caused all of these so let's ban it.

      July 24, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • YeahRight

      "If a man wants to have multiple wives, is that okay? If a man wants to marry a minor, is that okay? If a person wants to marry an animal, does that meet your definition of marriage?"

      LMAO wow you are clueless on this subject. You can't marry a minor or an animal because they can't consent. Duh!

      July 24, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. clwilki

    Good for Dan Cathy! This country needs more like him!

    July 24, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. At Work

    Wing nut, is that a response to what I wrote? I hope not, because your (according to you) has nothing to do with what I wrote. I have a feeling...you're being intolerant again.

    July 24, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. At Work

    Wing nuts,
    This is probably going to get lost in all the comments that have come in since but, as the name implies…I’m at work

    Okay, fair enough. So you're saying that CFA is intolerant because it supports organizations financially that lobby against "gay rights" ( I assume that is what you are saying, sorry for taking liberties and feel free to correct me). I don’t know what the organizations are they support and probably wouldn’t be able to recognize their “anti-gay” activities if I did, but I will concede that they could well be.

    So, are you saying that their giving to these organizations is the cause of this outrage as opposed to the statement made about supporting Biblical marriage?

    I was being a little facetious about the reply thing, but thanks.

    July 24, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Matthew

    Homosexuality is not a sin according to the Bible. Any educated Christian would know that. Scholars who have studied the Bible in context of the times and in relation to other passages have shown those passages (Leviticus, Corinthians, Romans, etc) have nothing to do with homosexuality. These passages often cherry-picked while ignoring the rest of the Bible. The sins theses passages are referring to are idolatry, prostitution, and rape, not homosexuality. That’s why Jesus never mentions it as well. There is nothing immoral, wrong, or sinful about being gay. Jesus, however, clearly states he HATES hypocrites. If you preach goodness, then promote hate and twist the words of the Bible, you are a hypocrite, and will be judged and sent to hell. Homosexuals will not go to hell, hypocrites will. This is very similar to the religious bigots of the past, where they took Bible passages to condone slavery, keep women down, and used Bible passages to claim blacks as curses who should be enslaved by the white man. People used God to claim that blacks marrying whites was unnatural, and not of God's will.

    July 24, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • OpenUReyes

      Well said Matthew! What amazes me is these so called Christians in here refuse to read The Book of Leviticus, and follow it to the letter, then they can see how brutal and unrealistic some books in the Bible are!

      July 24, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JP

    Is homosexuality a sin?

    Self-indulgence is a sin. But the relationship of two people of the same sex may or may not be self-indulgent.

    Abusing the neighbor is a sin. But the exploration of relationships among homosexuals as they search for partners, evaluate their existing formative relationships, and relate to each other may or may not be abusive.

    Disobeying what God commands in the Bible is a sin. But, we have biblically-derived criteria for assessing and applying specific commands by reading them against larger themes.
    Turning your back on God is a sin. Homosexuals are often among those who have turned their back on the church, and may be sinning because they also rejected the God they found in church. The church needs to be in mission to homosexuals with the message of Jesus and who God really is.

    Yielding to your passions, even celebrating them is a sin. Homosexuals do include those who have done this. But it is not an inherent aspect of being gay.

    Since we see people who have dedicated themselves to God, and for whom their gay sexual life is integrated into that decision and we see that their sexuality does not draw them away from church we must conclude that being and living gay is not a behavior in and of itself that produces pain to the neighbor and leads one away from God.

    By the criteria the scripture sets for us for what is godly life, and by the reasoning scripture asks us to employ, homosexuality cannot be described as against God’s law.

    If this seems like a rather quiet sort of justification for homosexuality, then perhaps it is because the grand clichés of this debate have been shouted at us for too long. But look at the Bible: it's demands and vision cut across all categories, not staying on the surface but penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart, rejecting all forms of self-justification, all forms of attack on the "other" and all forms of escape from God's assessment of our behavior. How on earth could we have ever thought that a series of flat rules was all God wanted to tell us on morality?

    July 24, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dianna

    Actually, the vast majority of people in the United States agree with Mr. Cathy's stance. When put on the ballot for popular vote, an overwhelming amount of people have said No to gay marriage.

    July 24, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jeannine

    "There is no tolerance for sin. Christ loved the sinner, as demonstrated many times in the bible, but never accepted their sin. He would tell them to go and sin no more."

    The Scriptures were written approximately 2000 or more years ago when there was no knowledge of constitutional homosexuality. The Scripture writers believed that all people were naturally heterosexual so that they viewed homosexuality activity as unnatural. Women today are pointing out that the inferiority of women expressed in the scriptures was a product of culture and the times in which the Bible was written; it should not be followed today, now that we are beginning to appreciate the natural and God-given equality of men and women.

    Similarly, as we know that homosexuality is just as natural and God-given as heterosexuality, we realize that the Biblical injunctions against homosexuality were conditioned by the attitudes and beliefs about this form of sexual expression which were held by people without benefit of centuries of scientific knowledge and understanding.

    It is unfair of us to expect or impose a twentieth century mentality and understanding about equality of genders, races and sexual orientations on the Biblical writers. We must be able to distinguish the eternal truths the Bible is meant to convey from the cultural forms and attitudes expressed there.

    July 24, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
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