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. Donizee

    What does food have to do with someone views. Chick fil A didn't put a gun to anyones head to come and eat good food. It's the american way to have a business and the owners can believe what they want. There are plenty other business that close on sunday and have the same views as when they created their companies. People need to quite forcing businesses to support their personal views. Keep your personnal business in the your own house. GOD will judge the wrong no matter how we understand in our own way of thinking

    July 26, 2012 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Awake Joinme

      you are absolutely right YEAH!!!!!

      July 26, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ron

    Dan Cathy is one in a huge number who believes in the biblical concept of marriage. It is wrong and as far as I am concerned, a deliberately blind double standard, to suggest that those who don't agree with gay marriage should be slammed for their views when the vitriol and hatred is as pronounced as it is on the other side of the view. Like I always say the atheists on CNN blogs are just as hateful, judgemental and intolerant as they claim Christians are. I think it is childish for the Henson company to pull out over Dan Cathy's statements. He has a right to his beliefs and it doesn't change the professionalism and the high standards of Chick-fil-A. It doesn't change the taste of the chicken either. It just shows the ignorance of the other "chickens" out there who can't handle the same level of scrutiny that they dish out.

    July 26, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • GOP hate america

      no childish is when christians cry out war on christmas when a company says happy holidays.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Not the same. The Christians seek to deny the freedom of a group of people. The Athiest seek to permit the freedom of a group of people

      July 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Monterey

    I'm glad to see someone stand up for their beliefs, if they had said they supported gay marriages no one would of noticed or cared but if you speak your mind about you believe in everyone wants to slander you.

    July 26, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. kmanning42

    That's the problem in American now the few think that everyone else should go along with there sick morals. Way to go Chick fil I will start eating there now!

    July 26, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • GOP hate america

      Stupid Christians and then they demand boycotting companies that say happy holidays instead of Christmas.

      July 26, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • dw82

      You only think gays have "sick" morals because of your ridiculous Bible. Without it, you don't have a reason to hate other human beings do you? See something wrong with that?

      August 2, 2012 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  5. Awake Joinme

    When an elected official representing the apparatus of the state makes comments or threats against individuals using the weight of their office and the state that their office represents they have crossed the line into the realm of totalitarian or fascist behavior.
    For Rahm Emanuel to publically castigate the CEO of Chick Fill A and threaten the wellbeing of Chick Fill A’s business and the jobs of who knows how many thousands of people because Rahm Emanuel doesn’t like the opinions of that CEO it becomes apparent Mr. Emanuel wishes to place himself in the company of such historical greats as Stalin, Franco, Goebals and others of similar ilk.

    It is okay for Rahm to express his personal opinions but it is not okay to threaten to use his office as a weapon against others opinions.

    A Chicago Citizen

    July 26, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob-Texas

      I agree!

      July 30, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary Anne

      Here in Tampa it was truly exciting to see all the wonderful supporters of Chik-Fil-A come out in support of FREE SPEECH! A man made a statement and you would think the Press (??!!) would support free speech. No, they support their agenda. Well, we (it is still we, right?) the people have truly had enough! God Bless America!!!

      August 1, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • CommonSense

      Sheesh, give me a break!
      Comparing Rahm to Stalin? Come off it. Your entire rant is just plain silly, especially since he never "threatened' anyone with the "state aparatus". He simply said their values are not those of Chicagoans, and that they were not welcome. He's perfectly within his right to do so, and expressing his opinions is not "crossing a line into fascism". Take a deep breath, and rejoin us in the real world.

      Side note: Goebbles was not famous for his fascism, Hitler was. Goebbles was famous for his ability to transmit information (propaganda) quickly and persuasively, to an expanding German nation. Get your facts/history straight.

      August 1, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. 0rangeW3dge

    Why do the white Christians always choose the word "affirm"? Is that in the new New Testament?

    July 27, 2012 at 3:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Davdi

      "...is this mentioned in the Bible?" You really could care less what is written in the bible if it does not justify your opinion so don't make mention of the Bible in your retorts.

      July 27, 2012 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Ricke1949


      July 28, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob-Texas

      What does it matter, agree with, support, back up, affirm, what is the difference and why do you futhur designate as White Christians?

      July 30, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. 0rangeW3dge

    Send in the Knight Templars

    July 27, 2012 at 3:24 am | Report abuse |
    • CommonSense

      Knights Templar*

      August 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Hawkeye321

    The Bible is clear on the matter (Acts 12:36): "Let no man satisfy their hunger for tender, crispy nuggets without confirming that their succulent bounty is served piping hot in the name of the Father, the Son, and the side order of waffle fries."

    July 27, 2012 at 3:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." – Proverbs 30:5-6

      July 27, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  9. Steve

    Facebook 'likes" have no meaning whatsoever because there is no option to "dislike."

    July 27, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  10. PDX Guy

    You can keep marriage between a man and a woman if you want but take away all the Federal and State benefits that ensue from it. If only selected people can have those benefits then we're dealing with a human rights issue. Allow all or nothing. There is no other choice. Majority can't withold other people's human rights.

    July 27, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fauntleroy Murphy

      I don't mind if you take away the benefits as long as you take away the liabilities as well.

      August 2, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. pete galioto

    I have bought the last item that has any thing to do with the muppets. The madness in this country has got to come to an end!!! It is no wonder that the Muslims think that their mission has to to be to ereadicate us!!!! We really are a morally bancrupt nation!!!!

    July 27, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Robert

    Hey, Chick-fil-A, what's next? A whites-only counter? Is that going back to your "traditional roots"? After all, the Bible clearly says the races shouldn't mix and we know you wouldn't turn away white customers. So I guess that means you'll have to make the blacks eat out back.

    July 27, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fauntleroy Murphy

      Mental midget!

      August 2, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. The Woof

    Ex-Gov Huckabee has his right to his opinion but as ordained minister maybe he should follow the example of He whom he professes to follow, preach the Word, stay the heck out of politics and above all if after preaching the Word and not being paid attention to, do as He whom you follow, let it go because He and His Father gave each and everyone of us the right of choice.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Cindy Black

    Yea Mr. Cathey,,,
    Maybe there is hope after all.
    Thanks for having a backbone.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JACX

    If I'm not wrong this is democracy country. Because of that people can differ about things. If that's his opinion about what he believes. He has right to express. Like gays has right to say what they want. But why so afraid of what?

    Right or Wrong? mmmmm I have my opinion made....

    August 1, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
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