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. dw82

    It's funny that we're supposed to believe that Huckabee uses big words like vitriolic. He's a freakin moron.

    August 2, 2012 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  2. Aristocles

    If Chick-fil-A values are not "Chicago values", then why doesn't the mayor seek to ban Catholic churches, Orthodox Jews and Orthodox Christians, Muslims, most black Churches, Evangelical churches, Mormons, and (most) Pentecostals while he is at it? He's basically saying the Abrahamic values are not "Chicago values."

    August 2, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Loki

      Typical Obama democrat.

      August 2, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Loki

    Never cared for the Henson characters. C-F-A distance yourself from any pro gay organization. Disgusting people.

    August 2, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. delftsman3

    In reply to not so Common Sense "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."

    Goebbels used that ability to support and advance the Facist cause...Get YOUR facts/history straight.

    RE did have a right to state his views, but it seems that a certain Alderman is using zoning laws to try to prevent C-F-A to opening a new store in Chicago,with at least the tacit support of R E. Starts me to thinking just WHAT "Chicago Values" ARE, given it's dismally high crime rates...

    August 3, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. batata_queen

    I don't see any reason to hurt my stomach and give my money to someone just because I like to have a male husband in my house. And it is not Christian to provoke people in the hope of political dividends or money.

    August 4, 2012 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mark

    Your profits fund hate, you get boycotted

    August 4, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • ogre12

      that works both ways

      August 6, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mark

    Bible quotes give me nausea. I will eat elsewhere the REST OF MY LIFE. (Goes for other xstian corporations too.) FINALLY it's OK to be an atheist and not worry about a zealot murdering you.

    August 4, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mark

    Religious freedom is being abused by the religious. NOW there will be some abuse of your profit margins. I've been very happy to be a thinking atheist for a long time , to be now free from the chains of religion that bound me, but these are GREAT times for us now. Religious people won't listen to reason, but they will listen to loss of profit and business failures.

    August 4, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • JW

      But you are not free from death or the judgement to follow. "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:" Hebrews 9:27

      August 6, 2012 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |
    • ogre12

      I see it being abused by the so-called "freedom from religion" group. I suppose you are a great fan of this group are you not? Why dont you join us at His Church on wednesday or sunday and see the difference 🙂

      August 6, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. DrBob66

    He is free to have his views, as bigoted as they are, but to give money to hate groups is just plain wrong. I hope real Christians understand that fake Christians like this are killing their religion and take a stand soon. Jesus was about love, this company is all about hate. It's disgusting and goes against everything Jesus taught us.

    August 4, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • ogre12

      Mr. Cathy is not part of any hate group just to set that particular fact straight. He simply states a very basic Christian truth stated in God's Word. He does not refuse to serve gays...he has not bashed them...he simply states his belief (which I wholeheartedly support). It seems to me that the gay community is the one who is tossing the hissy fit because most people do not agree with them and there is a very good reason why. I too really do not care one way or the other if the fellow is gay or not as long as they do not approach me in that regard. I know it is wrong because God's Word says so but I do not judge gays..it is not my place because I too have sinned. I believe in the old saying dont throw stones in a glass house. I believe gays and their supporting atheists should consider this particular venue also.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. DrBob66

    Being gay is NOT a choice, this has been determined and settles by science. Just because a Christian hates someone, doesn't mean that person can change who she or he is. Hate as much as you want, it only hurts the world. But people are still gay. So unChristian.

    August 4, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • ogre12

      what science do you have fool?

      August 6, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Otis

    The debate rages on, .....what debate?! Over free speech?!! Nice place this country is headed. Good job everybody. Nice job Mr. President in showing truth in what you stand for. The results of your first term speak for themself. I didn't ever want to, but I gladly will vote for Mittens if it means getting this ship back on course. It does. Something's got to change, and if hope and change didn't change it, I'll try the next only other option. What other option do we have?

    August 5, 2012 at 2:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jerry

    this is the same left twist that has your numbers going down the tubes cnn even aclu admits they have a right to voice their opinions left is so full of hate I just wanta get along you can live anyway you want but don't turn around and tell us what we are allowed to believe ok deal ? we wont condemn you and you dont condemn us ! hows about that and I will buy you a chicken sandwich Jerry

    August 5, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ogre12

    I love their Christian values and though I am not a big fan of fast food I will make it the only place to stop to get quick food in the future except on Sunday of course 🙂 Dont care if that upsets the aclu, obama, gays or atheists...I will just stop and buy more..and boycott Hey Mary's chicken since they support a local similar type thing for gays. It is about freedom of speech, freedom of choice, and freedom of religion..NOT freedom from religion.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. carrol Baker

    don't people have anything better to do thanmake such a big deal over someone elses opinion.

    August 20, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Easter Treats

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    August 23, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
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