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

Post by:
Filed under: Fast Food • Gay and lesbian • Religion • Showbiz
soundoff (1,200 Responses)
  1. Davethebarber

    Ironic that those cry out for tolerance are the least tolerant. Choice of restaurantsyou eat at is at least as important as choice of how you get your kicks.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. justsayin

    i love chik fil a! they have awesome chicken nuggets. also, good for them for sticking up for their beliefs.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. justsayin

    i love their chicken nuggets!! and good for them for sticking to their beliefs!

    July 24, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Aeriscloud

    People eat this overpriced trash? McDonalds grease has more taste.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Aeriscloud

    Huckabee vs Miss Piggy?! I guess he probably regrets marrying her now.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bigchoi

    I don't get . I'm gay and being gay was something that I feel I was born into. Just as my friend is straight and my other friends are straight and/or gay and some of us are making a darn mountain out a mole hill. He gave his opinion about marriage from biblical principles, so why should we get mad when we have every right to believe , do what we want, and sleep with who we want. He was just stating his opinion, America it's a free country.

    I was aware of what this company stood on and it never stopped me from eating a chicken sandwich. When are we going to wake up and act like grownups and not five year olds crying over cooties.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • brtbrkr

      Fast food isn't good for you. That should be enough reason not to eat the crap.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
    • DriftSS

      @bigchoi. Finally...a sensible person that thinks for himself and doesn't need the world to share his viewpoints.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • YeahRight

      "So yeah it does need to be spoken about in schools since so many Christians are properly educated on this subject and continue to fuel the hatred and bigotry towards this minority group with their lies."

      That was suppose to read So yeah it does need to be spoken about in schools since so many Christians are NOT properly educated on this subject and continue to fuel the hatred and bigotry towards this minority group with their lies.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      This is, by far, the most intelligent comment I have seen on this topic!

      July 25, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Todd

      Well stated! Good for you for seeing that we all have the right to our opinions. I understand that the Mayor of Boston is trying to ban Chic-Fil-a from the city. HMMM.....doesn't sound as though he believes in the same freedom to have an opinion...unless it is his

      July 25, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • YeahRight

      "Well stated! Good for you for seeing that we all have the right to our opinions. I understand that the Mayor of Boston is trying to ban Chic-Fil-a from the city. HMMM.....doesn't sound as though he believes in the same freedom to have an opinion...unless it is his"

      So if this company had said marriage should be between same races, that African Americans and whites can't marry each other would you still hold the same opinion. Marriage is a civil right that is being denied to the gay community because of uneducated bigots on this subject.

      July 25, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  7. Andrea

    Let's see....suppose there are cheaters, liars, theives and gluttons working at Chick. What are they to do?

    July 24, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim markus

      yea, except all those liars, cheaters, don't form support groups demanding their 'rights' and demand that grade school children be taught that lieing, cheating, etc, is acceptible, and that anyone disagreeing with them is a 'hater'.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • YeahRight

      "yea, except all those liars, cheaters, don't form support groups demanding their 'rights' and demand that grade school children be taught that lieing, cheating, etc, is acceptible, and that anyone disagreeing with them is a 'hater'."

      It's because it is about civil rights. Duh! Marriage was defined by the US Supreme Court as a civil right. Recognized federal civil rights law in the United States is grounded in the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court. By this standard, marriage has long been established as a civil right.

      The operative constitutional text is section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1868. The relevant passages read as follows:

      No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

      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."

      So yeah it does need to be spoken about in schools since so many Christians are properly educated on this subject and continue to fuel the hatred and bigotry towards this minority group with their lies.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  8. JK

    Be sure to let the good ole Mayor of Boston know you will not be visiting his City anymore or buying anything from that city.
    mayor@cityofboston.gov

    July 25, 2012 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
    • David Victor

      You do know that Boston's financial clout, as evidenced by median home prices in its suburbs and the continued development of its financial sector, would render the action you are suggesting completely moot, right? Massachusetts basically has no return on our federal tax contributions because we are consistently propping up failing states like Mississippi (which receives two dollars in Federal support for every dollar they contribute). This is why we can afford to take cutting edge, truly progressive positions, without having to worry about a backwoods boycott from the red states. We have virtually no use for them.

      July 25, 2012 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
    • JM

      That's fine, chances are you couldn't afford it anyways.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
  9. BOMBO ©

    A maritimer friend of mine just told me there is a Lick-a-Chick restaurant in Nova Scotia. So that name, too, would qualify as anti-gay, I suppose. Unless you are a woman going in there......

    July 25, 2012 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  10. Dealie56

    Whether or not I agree with his statements is immaterial. He has every right to his beliefs and the right to express them. Censorship is inappropriate regardless of which side you are on in this debate.

    July 25, 2012 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  11. Red

    So... Chick-A-Fil can choose to act as how it sees fit, but the Henson Co. CAN'T? They aren't ALLOWED to break a contract with a company that doesn't embrace inclusiveness?

    July 25, 2012 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
  12. Cassandra

    So Dan Cathy stood for what he believes............so did 3 other godly men.....

    Dan 3:17-18 "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."

    And what happened to them......(after God saved them from the furnace they were thrown into)

    Dan 3:28-30 Then (king) Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king's command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way." THEN THE KING PROMOTED Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

    So Dan Cathy....GET READY FOR PROMOTION!

    July 25, 2012 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
  13. Mike

    Religion is the root of all evil.

    July 25, 2012 at 5:33 am | Report abuse |
  14. Floyd Schrodinger

    Way to go Muppets! Here's a few words of advice for Chick-fil-A: Hate is NOT a family value.

    July 25, 2012 at 7:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Open Minded

      He never said he hated gays and lesbians he just stated his opinion on an issue. I openly support anyone and everyone in any belief that they may have this is, after all, America and we do have the right to believe what ever we want. Just because someone doesnt agree with your personal opinion doesnt make them wrong or evil.

      July 25, 2012 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Jauntae

      Who said he hated anyone? When did a difference of opinion equate to hating someone?

      July 25, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Todd

      @flloyd: So if I like chocolate ice cream does that mean that I HATE vanilla ice cream? I am confused how being for a traditional marriage means that you hate gays.

      July 25, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mark

    Silly to pick this fight. The company probably just lost at least %20 of it's business, (%20 of the pop. atheist)
    MESSING WITH THE MUPPETS IS MADNESS

    July 25, 2012 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36