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. TiredODaCrap

    I like a previous message post – Why does Boston think that Chick-fil-A needs a location in that city? If they truly needed it, wouldn't they already have one there?? It's not like it's a brand new franchise.
    In fact, I am sure that Truitt can continue to make a fortune by staying a regional chain. I don't see White Castle or In-and-Out burger thriving in all 50 states – but they seem to be doing pretty well in their areas!

    July 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • browne

      why is it that lgbt so badly wants to be heard, but yet they cant handle peoples honest opinions. you sound like little whinning A?? babies, if you do not want to eat at chick filet, then dont, who cares. But stop whinning becasue some people dont agree w/ your lifestlyle(s).

      July 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Electric Mayhem

      Boston welcomes all who are tollerant.
      Maybe you should stay out of Boston.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • YeahRight

      "why is it that lgbt so badly wants to be heard, but yet they cant handle peoples honest opinions. you sound like little whinning A?? babies, if you do not want to eat at chick filet, then dont, who cares. But stop whinning becasue some people dont agree w/ your lifestlyle(s)."

      It's only prejudice people that spew this nonsense. It's about their civil right to get married plus 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."

      July 24, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Texan

    So by your statment, I can disagree with what the KKK says, as long as I spend money in their establishments to show I support their right to free speach and beliefs. Sure.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Twist it

      No one is telling you where you can and can't eat. Chick-fil-a isn't refusing to serve any partion of the population. It's just their own personal beliefs. You know...just like yours.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • TiredODaCrap

      No, I am saying that if you SAY you support the KKK, but your action is taking your money from them, you are being hypocritial. If you support them and their right, you would not turn around and TAKE from them because of their right to believe a certain way. Again, your actions speak louder than your words. Luckily, for Truitt, he's man enough to stick to his beliefs and state them clearly when he is asked a question about them..

      July 24, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • w247

      Texan – The KKK is a hate group. Chick-fil-a is not. HUGE difference in expressing your beliefs versus preaching hate and violence. I hope you understand the difference.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • TiredODaCrap

      A more correct statement from you would have been "Chick-fil-A has a right to their opinion, but I have a right to take my money elsewhere". Seems to me that unless you take the money that would have gone there, and consciously give it to a company that believes the opposite, you are really not supporting anyone. You are choosing NOT to support Chick-fil-A, and in no way supporting their rights!

      July 24, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. MC

    Always loved the Muppets love em even more now! NEVER liked Chick-fil-a now it's not just the food that makes me sick! l love that the Henson Co. donated all the Chick-fil-a proceedes!

    July 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Twist it

      Good...one less person in line in front of me.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Robert

    OK, I'll make it a point to stop at Chik-Fil-A on the first. Not because I believe they are right (they aren't, in my opinion) but because I believe they have the right to have an opinion. Until someone can show the company actually is discriminating (refusing to hire LGBT employees, refusing to serve LGBT customers, etc.) they have the right to have their beliefs. They can support the Flat Earth Society if they like, if that is their personal belief. Last time I checked, they aren't going out of their way to promote their beliefs (other than the decision not to open on Sunday, which again is their right.)

    July 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • RussP

      Unfortunately political correctness is taking away our right to have and more importantly express our beliefs and opinions.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • PushingBack

      You don't think giving $3 million dollars to anti-gay causes is enough? Must be nice to be in a position to stand on the sidelines and just be able to watch.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • w247

      Pushing Back – why shouldn't they donate to causes that they believe in? Lots of celebritys and company's support causes that they believe in that I don't neccessarily believe in. Why do you insist in double standards? What's "ok" for what you believe in is not ok for what other people believe in?

      July 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joe

    This debate has long been brewing and before the Chick-fil-A statement no one had a face to turn to. Now a large company has opened its mouth and stuck their foot in. This is not about Chick-fil-A it is about LGBT having equal rights. For those that feel they don't deserve the same as you replace gay with women. How many people would argue that women do not have the right to marry, or adopt, have health insurance? The big question is what are you people afraid of? Do you think they are going to make you gay? Make you go to their church? Wear their cloths? I have not heard one argument that they want you to do anything. Yet you keep telling them what they can and can’t do. You say they are intolerant of you but they have taken nothing from you but you keep this “prize” away from them as if it would tarnish your own marriage. If someone you don’t even know can break up your family than you have no bonds to even protect. I say equal rights for all no matter what.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JAI

    HYPOCRISY MUCH? "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. – – So... A city that is "at the forefront of inclusion," won't include a company that disagrees with the views of the city leaders. Wow. Remind me never to go to Boston.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • w247

      Yeah, the Boston Mayor's "logic spin" is all out of whack. Hypocrisy and double standards..

      July 24, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Foiled Again Batman

      Yeah, lets invite the Klan into a black neighborhood,
      thats good for everybody.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Karen

    Frogs are fickle. Precisely why Chic-fil-A uses cows as spokespersons....spokescattle?

    July 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kermit The Frog

      Piggy wants to have a word for you.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tolerance

    While many claim this is just an opinion & Chick-FIl-A has no desire to become political, the fact is the Cathy family has contributed millions to organizations like Focus on the Family which promotes discrimination of the LGBT community. Just like Chick-FIl-A has a right to donate to anti equality organizations, others have the right to state its not right to eat there when a portion of their profits go to anti-gay political groups.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Eroc

    Not sure how Chick-fil-A is being discriminatory. All he said was that he supports traditional marriage. Its not like they are denying service to gay people, or treating them any different. You can disagree with a lifestyle choice and still be respectful and loving to an individual.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. The Real Tom Paine

    By all means, let the Christian haters shovel more deep-fried chicken into their mouths: it will limit the time they can spend reciting their fairy tales to those of us who are perfectly happy being left alone, and will ensure they depart this plane of existence faster ( which is what they seem to want, anyway).

    July 24, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth, Not Fairy Tale

      @ Real Tom Paine,
      Remember this statement the next time you get pulled over by the police for exceeding the speeding limit (or breaking the law).

      July 24, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. meccano

    "Muppets take sides" might make for a good headline, but alas it is inaccurate. While Jim Henson created the characters, the company that bares his name does not own them. The Muppets are owned by The Walt Disney Company. For that matter, the Sesame Street characters are owned by the Sesame Workshop (aka Children's Television Workshop).

    July 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Electric Mayhem

      For the third time.
      Disney owns the Muppets, but the Henson family has final say
      in all Muppet products.
      Even Republicans understand a business deal.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ART

    Huckabee, or better known as code name lard a**

    July 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. BS

    Welcome to the land of "unpopular opinion will ruin you". I don't agree with their stance, but I respect people for actually saying and standing for what they believe in....all too rare for people to be honest.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Toby

    CNN,, your radical gay agenda just isn't supported by the normal 99% of population,,I mean next time you are in a normal public place just look around ,

    July 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • juljo

      You should check your statistics since it's pretty much a dead heat in the population that supports gay marriages.

      If you are arguing the 1% of the population that is gay, we live in the USA where even a minority (thankfully) is supposed to have the same rights as the majority.

      Perhaps you just need for the 1% to be a member of your family before you realize that people are just people and your way is not the "right" way.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. George Washington

    Maybe Huckabee and Chick-fil-a can show their affirmed view of the biblical view by reenacting the Inquisition on the believers and non-believers alike.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
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