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. Jason

    Chick – fil -a has posted signs in Local Arkansas Chains saying they voluntarily removed muppets toys from the kids meals because of safety issues.. I thought truthfullness was a Godly attribute!

    July 24, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    Bravissimo Henson Company!
    Boo Huckabee.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Heather

    It's 2012. Stop the discrimination. People are people- let them be.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rhena

      When did disagreeing and making a choice becomes discrimination? You can choose to live how you want. If I don't agree with that. Being a married woman to one husband(male) how was that even a sin against anyone? We make our own choices, everyone will not agree with them. But you got to live with that.

      July 24, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Sin is Sin.It doesn't discriminate.

      July 24, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BOMBO ©

    Bert and Ernie are happy with the position of their parent company.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. the Swedish Chef

    Vhy deedn't mee cooment pust?

    July 24, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Oscar the Grouch

    Does this mean that me and Elmo can't eat there,and hold hands and kiss?

    July 24, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. @IthinkitsDanny

    Soooooooooo is dressing up like the sesame street gang n eating at chik-fil-a on August 1st out of question?

    July 24, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Linn

    I hope this means the drive-thru lines will be shorter!

    July 24, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. belinda

    Good for Bostons Mayor and the Jim Henson co. That they support Gay Rights is so important . Just like Huckabee supports Cathy . Everyone else who doesn't agree, should let chick- fil – A know, that we don't want you in our state. They can get out of Texas as far as I'm concerned . I wonder if they are associated in any way to the Christian Groups that are supporting the Death Penalty for Gays in Africa ???

    July 24, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • karen

      I support the death penalty for all lying politicians, congressmen and senators! But leave gays alone. At least they aren;t lying!

      July 24, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tom Tusing

    Chic-fil-a has not discriminated against anyone. Gays want to have a right to speak and be as they believe is right go ahead but dont go and be such hypicrates when someone comments on how they feel Not everyone agrees with you they never will I have seen plenty of gay people working at chic-fil-a Its so damn annoying to listen to everyone cry anymore.

    July 24, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. coralyn banks

    two wrongs don't make a right or visa versa.the cathys used to shop in my store in alt.and they were always nice.the only type of people i discriminated against were the hopelessly rude.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sam

    They aren't saying gay people can't eat there! They just don't support the toy companies opinion!

    July 24, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. pedro

    I have gay and lesbian friends so I don't think I'm a bigot our anything. I mean I don't look at them and say your a sinner our burn in hell. But honestly you preach tolerance yet your not tolerant of other ppls view it stance. And how is being gay genetic honestly I think its a choice not saying its the wrong choice. So if I go to chik fil a does that make me prejudice or a bigot, cause I do like the sandwiches. practice what you preach folks they have the right to disagree with you.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ray

    The mayor of Boston can say the city of Boston is at the forefront of inclusion while at the same time excluding a business. Ridiculous.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Christie

    How have they discriminated in any way? Have they refused to serve chicken sandwiches to gay people???? It looks to me like they are being punished for an opinion. That is absurd.
    And what about FRANCHISE owners? Just because Dan Cathy said something, they should suffer?
    Who is REALLY discriminating? I would have to say it is the LGBT community. "If you don't like what we do then we won't buy your stuff." Oh bother!

    July 24, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
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