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. Kim

    The company has a right to support tranditional, biblical marriage. Their product is very good, and the company treats its customers and employees with great respect. I for one think there is a great deal more "hate speech" coming from pro-gay marriage people than is coming from pro-biblical marriage people. Just stop and listen a minute. I have never seen or heard so many people who trumpet "tolerance" being so extremely intolerant. Can people not see the hypocrisy?

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

      Kim, I agree completely. The LGBT needs to be more tolerant of people who do not share their beliefe. I support their right to live the way they want and feel comfortable, but they do not seem to be as supporting of people who do not. Just as I will not be supporting Chick-fil-a any more, I will not be supporting any LGBT type organization.

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

      Kim, the hypocrisy is Huckabee and Cathy thinking they are "Christians".

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

      How is protesting "hate speech"? Seriously, it's this level of ignorancy and imbecilic rhetoric that will be the downfall of America and what it ACTUALLY means to be Christian.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • TJ

      And as for not having to answer to anyone or owing anyone an apology, that's just stupid. They DO owe both an apology and an explanation to their shareholders as to while their profits will be dropping significantly.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • peter

      Kim, the hypocrisy is that you think you are being tolerant, and gays are being "intolerant" by asking for equal rights. Are you seriously asking for gays to tolerate your intolerance of them? Are you listening to YOURSELF?

      July 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Electric Mayhem

      I dont recall any pro gay people screaming to put you behind barbed wire fences.

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

      Why should any American tolerate someone attempting to deny them their civil rights? He is free to believe what he will and say what he will but when he actively funds groups seeking to disenfranchise their fellow citizens, then he crosses the line...

      July 24, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. hatebreedshate

    They should rename their pro-Christian chicken joint to Hate-Fil-A. That's more appropriate.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • TonyMontana1

      They never say they hated, they just don't support. Good for them for sticking to their beliefs. They don't owe anyone an apology. Get over it sissy twinkle toes!

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

      Who hates who? It looks to me the gay population hates anyone that doesn't believe in their cause. Learn to accept peoples differences and we may actually get along.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • i12bphil

      Choosing to not advocate something is not hate, no matter how you try and label it.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • wayne

      It's great to have an opinion about something and celebrating Freedom of Speech until you offend someone, and then it's "shut up, keep your comments to yourself"

      YOU can say what you want, but others obviously don't have the same rights.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joe

    How is Chick-fil-A discriminating against the gay population? Do they deny selling a gay person a sandwich? No! They are just telling people there beliefs. And the last time I checked that was not discriminating against anyone! I'll be there Chick-fil-A.

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

      It is discrimination when you vocally support a cause that denies a minority equal rights under the law.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • KitKat

      The problem isn't what they're saying or selling. They have wonderfully well-trained, well-mannered employees and they make great food. The problem is that they're giving the money they earn through this business that I otherwise love to support groups that DO discriminate. They're donating to groups that lobby AGAINST marriage equality and gay rights. That's where I have a problem with Chik-Fil-A, not with them using their Christian principles to run their business. You can argue they're putting their money behind their principles, and that's free speach. No problem. I just won't give them any more of MY money to put into trying to codify discrimination.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • i12bphil

      I am simply amazed at the stupid inference people make when they feel they're views are threatened. This is the same sort of 'logic' in saying that since I'm a fan of the NFL that it somehow means I must indeed hate MBL.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • w247

      Kitkat – so it's not ok to give support organizations that you believe in? Isn't this country still about freedom to support the causes you believe in? However we are now quickly becoming a country where your opinion better match up with the mob opinion or they will use their power to intimidate you and shut you down? "Nope, not allowed to have differing opinions in this country, home of the free, land of the brave...."

      July 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jkhur

      W247, when you start actively trying to deny your fellow citizens their civil rights, this stops being the land of the free, home of the brave.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. emerya

    It is sad to me that this world equates the term "intolerant" with those who actually stand for something. Tolerance is not accepting or condoning people/views different than your own. Tolerance is supposed to be learning to live AMONGST those who differ in opinions than your own. Sometimes I want to scream when people are quick to label others as intolerant (mainly Christians being labelled intolerant). They are doing nothing but proving THEIR intolerance

    July 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. TheLostSurveyor

    I love Chick-fil-A Chicken. But I will never patronize them again. Mr. Cathy has a right to his beliefs. But so do I. I'm gonna miss it. But some things are simply more important than a tasty sandwich. I grew up in the Bible Belt and have no tolerance for those who use religion to shield their arrogance and blatant bigotry. All this talk about chicken has made me hungry. Popeyes here I come.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Syxx Sense

    Like you really needed this PR slip up to drive business away from Chick-Fil-A? Look at the chemical ingredients in their chicken if you want to see something truly appalling.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. TiredODaCrap

    How is it "hate" to answer a question asked of him honestly? I guess it would be better for the out Christian to have lied to get more business. Apparently, that is what these protesters want, as I know that they really don't think that no other business in the country has leaders that believe the same as Cathy. If he had stated that he was for alternative marriage, he'd have been torn apart by the media stating how hypocritical he is for changing his views, etc. Either way that you believe on this issue, you have to respect a public figure actually having the guts to state his true beliefs – and not just those that may bring him a few extra bucks...

    July 24, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Johnson

    You know, its sad that Chick-fil-a can't have its own beliefs. What happened to the freedoms we have here in the USA? Why can't Chick-fil-a do what it wants with its views and the gays can have theirs as well. I think its wrong that the Gays want to force their opinion and their belief system on a company who does not think that way. I am proud of Chick-fil-a for standing up for their beliefs. It seems lately that everybody either hides their beliefs or lets anyone change their beliefs for them. Chick-fil-a you sill see me eating at your resturants on Aug 1st!

    July 24, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Electric Mayhem

      **** You know, its sad that Chick-fil-a can't have its own beliefs.

      They can, and they do.
      Nobody has taken that right away from them.
      But i also have the right to disagree with thier beliefs.
      GOT THAT ?

      July 24, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. KP

    Chick-fil-a is a complete JOKE. Along with most of the folks from the mid-west.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jesus

    I love Chick-Fil-A and I'm gay! Stupid Christians should have taken "love your fellow man" literally like they do the rest of that book they follow so blindly....

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

      "Stupid Christians"??? Yeah, there is definitely no hate in your heart!

      July 24, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. I like turtles

    Chick-fil-A?...more like....Intolerant-fil-A

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

      Intolerant??? Because HE has a different opinion on marriage? Sounds like YOUR intolerant. Do gay people work there? Yup. Do gay people eat there? Yup. But because the founder has certain views of marriage that is differant than your own you are going to ruin his business and get people fired?? Sounds like moral terrorists.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Texan

    I support Chick-fil-a in their right to state their beliefs, but I do not believe the same as they do, so I will no longer be supporting them with MY money. As far a biblical definitions, then all men should have the right to have multipal wives as most men did when the bible was written.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • TiredODaCrap

      Obivously, you don't support Cathy's right to his beliefs, or you wouldn't be pulling YOUR monetary support from them. It's one thing to SAY you support someone's right, it's another to show it. Your action speaks a lot louder than your written words on a message board!

      July 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • wayne

      you don't know your bible history too well to make that comment. Just throwing untruth out there and hope that it sticks.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. spangler

    Couples who have a religious marriage service only, without filling out the civil paperwork, are not legally married. Couples who have a civil marriage service only, with no religious event at all, are legally married. Marriage is a civil, not religious, event. A religious service, dinner, reception, honeymoon etc. are extra to, but not necessary for, a legal marriage. Gender discrimination is illegal when it comes to the application of civil rights such as civil marriage.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Big Burd

    That's what happens when you let a pig marry a frog.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Al

    Why is this that big of a deal? I'm a Christian and I believe in the Bible, but I am not going to avoid certain places (ex: Disney World) just because they support something different than I do. This world is made up of many people with many different beliefs- Be tolerant and stop acting like this is high school and you aren't cool enough to be apart of this club or that club.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Free Soda

      I really don't get this. I heard the comments the CEO made. They do not jive with my political beliefs but I really don't care. As long as they continue to make awesome chicken sandwiches and waffle fries and as long as I can afford it I will continue to patronize their business. That is their business and so long as they conduct their business legally and they provide a product I want why wouldn't I? I am a liberal card carrying democrat and I have to say, I just don't get the uprising over this. Chill out and grow up folks. His comments weren't even offensive. He just stated what he believes. That's pretty much it. He didn't take a shot at people who believe differently.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Todd

      Yes we had mobs of Americans beat up people because they were christian. You don't have people going around and whispering to someone else, I bet he is a christian!. You don't walk into Disney world with a Cross around your neck the manager doesn't try to make you take it off, or hide it.

      If you are in the minority then you need extra support and protection, because the general population is against you.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • TiredODaCrap

      Todd – You're right, there is not a lot of whispering of hatred toward Christians. That's only because it has become politically correct to scream your hatred of Christians out loud for all to hear. No group is as dispised or hated in the country today as much as Christians.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
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