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. Buck

    Henson loses , Christians eat a lot more Chicken ( and everything else ) than his puppets eat , and the kids that patronize them eat what mom & dad feed them whether it is Chic-Fil-A or not . Wow , two men buggering each other makes a really great mental image (NOT).

    July 25, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. founders1791

    The Pilgrims came to American in 1620 to escape religious persecution, 400 years later it is alive and well ....at Plymouth Rock.

    July 25, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Faye

    Romans 1:26 For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the women, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which is due.

    July 25, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Runner4t1

    This isn't a marriage or gay thing, this is about freedom of speech. The man has the right to state his opinion whether everyone or no one agrees with him.

    July 25, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. spockout

    The US is a colossal joke....freedom of speech...I hope Dan sues for prevention of it- as Leonard Cohen says, "things are going to fly, fly in all directions"....Support Chick-fil-a and go eat there on 8/1/2012.

    July 25, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • EG

      Hope you choke on a chicken wing Aug 1. You morons seem to be crawling out of the woodwork.

      July 25, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      You're more than welcome to your freedom of speech here in America, and so is the guy who says he disagrees. If that guy happens to be in business with you and chooses to do so, we also have the freedoms in place for him to no longer associate with the other guy. This is not squelching speech, merely responding actively in opposition to the message.

      July 25, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Spot On

      Instead of spewing religiously motivated hate, why not ask yourself where your god was when the bullets flew in Colorado. Doesn't one of your fairy tales say someting about loving your neighbor? What happened to that? This country is spiraling back to the dark ages and religion is the engine driving it.

      July 26, 2012 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
    • jalek

      Hope he sues who.. the "liberals"? Good luck getting that case together.

      They don't have corporate-owned stores, the company is more likely to be sued by franchisees to break contracts if they can show a loss of business due to his statements. Those are the people caught in the middle of these little protests, small businessmen, as usual.

      July 26, 2012 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
    • JustSayin

      This is more about a poor business decision than freedom of speech. Yes the president of this company can have his own opinions on whatever he so chooses and should be able to do so without harm because it is his right to have this opinions. However, his statements are not just about his own personal beliefs. He made that statement on behalf of the company so harm coming to the company by means of a boycott should be expected.

      July 26, 2012 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
    • hmp10

      So Chick-Fil-A is supporting the "biblical" definition of marriage? I wonder if they realize that the bible speaks in numerous Old Testament books of marriages between ONE man and SEVERAL women. So am I to understand that Chick-Fil-A supports polygamy?

      July 26, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • frmrma

      Who is preventing him from speaking his mind? No one. Good luck with your lawsuit idea....I'm guess you don't understand much about the law.

      Other companies and their leaders have just as much right to speak their mind and have every right to refuse to do any further business with CFA.

      July 26, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • brad-ash

      Freedom of speech doesn't mean there are no consequences to what vile you spew. Refusing to patronize and demonstrating against bigoted comments is the highest form of free speech.

      July 26, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      I agree. Mr. Cathy has the same freedom of speech that everyone else has, whether you agree with him or not. Those that support gay marriage have the same right. They also have the right to choose not to eat at his restaurant.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Way to miscontrue things. NO ONE stopped or is stopping him from speaking. They are reacting to what he said.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Appalled

      In what way has his freedom of speech been constrained? He's allowed to say what he wants and others are allowed to protest it. Win/win.

      July 26, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. TrueBlueCatholic

    Go Chick Fil A

    "The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness..."
    more like its celebrating deviancy and amorality

    Yum yum yum. Think I'll get meself a "chikin" sandwich tommorrow.

    July 25, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • EG

      So I guess it doesn't matter to you that the catholic church is getting "torpedoed" financially because of the tens of thousands of pedophiles and untold millions of dollars to undo the life-changing sins by those who wearing the cloak on Sunday's while they're getting off on pubescent choir boys in there spare time.
      Brain-washed trueblue catholic. Do you not see the history of blood-baths, Holocaust in the name of god for those who aren't true believers? What a colossal waste of space "TrueBlue catholics occupy.

      July 25, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • TrueBlueCatholic

      EG :-
      the church's mistake was that when buncha gays infiltrated the church and did their thing with them boys, they didnt throw em out and shout to all listeners about it.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • nottolate

      From now on I don't plan to eat any fast food but Chick-fil-A. Bye McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Hello Chick-fil-A for taking a stand.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Kiaya Perry

      @True BlueCatholic- i guess Aug 1st will be the day i share everyones joy of this little chicken sandwich. I've never been but Ive heard good things and since everyone is tripping because this BUSINESS MAN stated HIS personal view on something i MUST go support his business!

      July 26, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Appalled

      You do that, trueblue, and then show us where malice and hate are written into Christ's teachings.

      July 26, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Time to burn down all Chick fil A locations.

    July 25, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • TrueBlueCatholic


      July 25, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Junebug

      Yes of course, because burning down someone's business because you disagree with his religious beliefs makes you more tolerant.

      July 26, 2012 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
    • nottolate

      "Time to b urn d own all Chick fil A locations."

      You gays graduating from your routine bullying to terrorism now?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Was blind, but now I see

      You never fail to out-do yourself, do you!

      July 26, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Time to b urn d own all Chick fil A locations.

    July 25, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • krhodes

      That is liberalism in it true form

      July 25, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Devin

      you people contradict yourself with your own hateful ignorent rhetoric. no one said anything hateful at chikfilet

      July 25, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Why would you threaten violence just because this guy disagrees with your opinions?

      July 26, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. the judge

    judge not yet ye be judged there is only one judge.. it is just as much a sin to judge someone than it is anything else so i think people need to mind there own business

    July 25, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. TrueBlueCatholic

    Practicing one's morality and following principls dear to oneself is only the right of atheists or liberals. Chick-Fil-A and Boy scouts need not even try. The P.C. police will shut them down.

    July 25, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • dw82

      Atheists and liberals don't follow an outdated religious texts that commands them to make other people feel subhuman and disgusting for being who they are.

      August 2, 2012 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
  11. michaelwkelley

    It's amazingly hypocritical how liberals are always toting the candle of "free speech" until you say something they disagree with. I mean, what kind of free speech is it when you can only espouse liberal ideas?? I'll tell you what, NO free speech.

    What authority does the Mayor of Boston have for stopping commerce because he disagrees with the CEO of a company? If I was Chick-fil-A, I'd buy a lot right in Boston's city limits and put up a restaurant and say, "Okay, just try to stop me hotshot."

    July 25, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • JCP

      It's not the issue of what a company says, it's whether your money is supporting what they actively do. That is the case with Chick-fil-A. If all this was about was something the company president had said, this would be a non-issue. People don't want their money going from their pockets into those of an organization that actively works to hurt people.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. My Two Pennies

    We are a "free" country, free to believe or disbelieve in anything that we feel like. Don't force me or anyone to recognize your beliefs just because you think I should. If you don't like Chick-fil's point of view, just don't eat there and shut the hell up.

    July 25, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • JCP

      Telling people to "shut the hell up" is much more of a move at limiting speech than people suggesting others might not want to eat at Chik-fil-A. The right to criticize people and companies IS free speech.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jalek

    Doesn't want to be involved in politics, yet makes public statements about one of the more popular current themes.
    Sorry dude. When you announce your company has an anti-abortion stance, that won't go by quietly either.
    Must be nice to be able to alienate customers without concern.

    July 26, 2012 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jared

    Mike Huckabee is a joke. Arkansans don't even like him.

    July 26, 2012 at 4:20 am | Report abuse |
  15. nottolate

    I never eat at Chick-fil-A because I haven't been particularly fond of it. I'll be eating there from now on though quite often and will learn to like it. Go Chick-fil-A!

    July 26, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
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