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. Patriot13

    1 Thessalonians 5:21

    21But test [judge] and prove all things [until you can recognize] what is good; [to that] hold fast.

    July 25, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. MEME

    One of his kids will be gay guaranteed!

    July 25, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jean A. tampa fl

    Chik-fil-A also is closed on Sunday- Good for them I say! When I was a kid we went to Church on Sunday( we didn't go worship at the Mall and look for things to buy that we could not afford). We also went and saw our Grandparents or other relatives that day, or a family picnic ,or along family walk ,or the Zoo.I have been in retail my whole life and I hate working on Sundays!!!

    July 25, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kafir

      Right, cuz it's allllll about you eh?

      July 25, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Randy131

    “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....Chick-fill-A has made it quite clear that they desciminate against nobody, but supports their own religious view of what a traditional Christian family is and should be. But apparently in Boston there is no tolerance for one to believe in his their own Christian values, and for that the believers in Christianity are then being desciminated against by the Mayor of Boston, Thomas M. Menino. One wonders if real Christianity still exists in the City of Boston? Also apparent is that this City and it's Mayor's definition of inclusion is support of diviancy and perversion, and because of this acceptance, does it also include pedophilia and polygamy, for pedophiles and polygamists also have the right to be happy, and if to do so means to marry what they desire in the name of rights and being able to share in those rights, I'm sure they will have no hesitation to do so.

    July 25, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris R

      First, traditional Christian values include love, toleration, and respect for all people. *ALL* people. Jesus never said "Love everyone except those people over there that I don't like". Leave judgement to the Lord, okay? You are free to practice your belief as you see fit (within the confines of the law) just as other people are allowed to practice their beliefs (within the confines of the law). I believe you are a Christian but I think you may have lost sight of what Christ was trying to teach us. Take some time to reflect on the Lord's Prayer – really think about what it is saying and what it means; from that all things will flow. Remember, Jesus is the Son of God, not Paul, not John of Patmos, not even the author of Leviticus. Leading a Christlike life is hard – probably the hardest thing you can ever do but if you embrace it then the struggle will be worth it. It will transform you.

      July 25, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sskepticall

    I Love those Muppett people!!!

    If you want to play in the public Market Place then expect that are those that will not support your business if you are public about your biases. That is the way of the world and more so now since people like me get to write on something like this to express my belief that they don't deserve my hard earned money.

    Also, by wrapping yourself in the Christian Cloak to speak for Jesus when there is NOTHING that Jesus every said that represents what this owner says are Jesus's values is the all to, age old common disquise for the mis-informed or similar haters of others. Pretend that it offends God because it offends you doesn't work with even us believers. The God I believe in, the Jesus who I admire is NOT the one they pretend they speak for. They don't speak for anyone but themselves.

    It is that simple.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      Bravo!!!!! Well said!!!!

      July 25, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. The Dude

    The very idea that people are going to a chicken slinger and political pundit to affirm their faith shows how far our society has fallen. Sad.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Miklan

    As an atheist let me express how I personally feel toward the evangelicals of this country as I'm not sure you have a realistic view of us. I assume most of you believe we are lost and our disdain of evangelism stems from some sort of fear which couldn't be further from the truth.
    Personally, I feel a mix of anger and pity toward the evangelicals in this country.because they have chosen to throw away the greatest gifts the universe has given us, logic and reason. They in turn choose to limit themselves by giving in to the primal desire we all have that a Universe must have a god and everything must happen for a reason. I completely understand why you have given in to this, it is definitely the easier path to take. I beg you, take a look at the universe from a non-anthropic point of view and lend some deep thought into what this great Universe is and why you have chosen to believe in a deity.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. lynn

    I spend a lot of money at chick fil a but not ever again will I go there, I am not gay or anything and I really don't believe in gay marriages but thats just me. We all have our own way of thinking. Stop judging people God will judge us in the end. I bet anything that these same people that talk against gays are doing something themselves that God would not be pleased with. We have to remember that one sin is no bigger than the other one in God's eyes. The lie, the cheating on your wife/husband, stealing and cursing its all SIN. Stop Judging Others

    July 25, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Liberatus

    Chik-Fil-A has every right to voice their beliefs on gay marriage. Others who agree with them have the right to show up on August 1 to show their suppor.

    However, I have the right not to eat there, and to try and persuade others not to eat there. I have had my last Chik-Fil-A.

    My question: Will they also come out and voice as strong an opinion against adultry, divorce, abuse, etc? Of course not,,,,because most of their "christian regulars" are guilty of at least one of those transgressions....

    July 25, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Exactly. The fact is that the religious right needs someone to bully, and gays are the easiest target

      July 25, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Brandon Brown

    I didn't have a father much in my life growing up as my parents were divorced. I have seen in my life how it has negatively affected me, therefore, I support the traditional view of "marriage".

    July 25, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Brandon Brown

    I didn't have a father much in my life growing up as my parents were divorced. I have seen in my life how it has negatively affected me, therefore, I support the traditional view of "marriage".

    July 25, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ,

    Mayor Menino's statement that Boston is an open city thats at the forefront of inclusion. and in the same breath say Chick-fil-A is not welcome, Thats some definition of inclusion. Your welcome but only if you agree with my way of thinking otherwise stay out. That sounds a lot like exclusion but I am sure you find someone to believe otherwise

    July 25, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Steve Lyons

    Why are these gays making it out that Chick-Fil-a discriminates. They don't. It is a restaurant open to all, where the owners just don't agree with redefining marriage. But the cities that are threatening to block permits are violating the law, because the owners have NOT been shown to violate any law. Expressing your opinion that marriage is sacred is NOT a violation of the law. However denying a permit for political reasons is.

    July 25, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. straight but not narrow

    I'd like to chime in for us Pagans, here. The Goddess loves all her children. Even the misguided Christians. Any two people who love each other and choose to live together in matrimony have the right to do so. It's no one else's business.

    July 25, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Matt Hudson

    As a member of the armed forces I want to stand up and say what a disappointment this all is hearing these ridiculous comments. Seriously!! This is what we defend everyday. A bunch of crybabies that whine because the other kid said something we didn't like and it hurt our feelings. Here is a reality check for you....GROW UP!!!!! This is like a child saying because his teacher doesn't believe in the tooth fairy he isn't going to learn Fractions. Meaning an opinion has nothing to do with the validity of business and its ability to provide chicken to the public. The very reason this country exists is to provide a place that you are ABLE TO HAVE AN OPINION. So in other words....if you want soldiers to defend you and your rights in the future....STOP THE WHINING SERIOUSLY!

    July 25, 2012 at 5:34 pm | 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