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. Jeff

    I agree that we should all agree to disagree. Chick-fil-A is a private company, and while I don't buy in to the "a company is a person" nonsense, they DO have a right (just as an individual does) to believe what they will and support whatever stance or agenda that they wish (as long as they do so legally). The same can be said for the Henson folks. So, we have a difference of opinion, a business relationship to dissolve, and what should be an amicable parting of ways. End of story.

    With that said: Muppets rule! Waka waka!

    July 24, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jorge

      I agree. It's a great thing for Chik Fil A to stand with what they believe.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. IEK

    The issue isn't really what Cathy said. Its what his company DOES, which is donate profits to groups like Focus on the Family. I don't care what Cathy does or doesn't believe, just like I don't care what my boss believes, what the CEO of McDonald's believes or what Lisa Henson believes. My problem is that every time I eat at Chick-fil-a, it means I'm donating money to causes I don't believe in. So, I simply won't eat there. Dan Cathy is more than free to say and believe whatever he wishes.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Well said.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike in NYC

      I think you're missing the point. Dan Cathy is not only stating his personal beliefs but he is stating Chick-fil-A's corporate position on the issue. So, while he is certainly free to voice his personal opinion on issues – that's not ALL that's going on here.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • w247

      Am I mis.sing something here? Is there a list going around of what charit.ies I can and cannot contribu.te to? Are we still living in Am.erica? If I contribu.te to teh wrong char.ity am I now going to expect a mob to be at my front door thre.atening me unt.il I do what is right in their eyes???

      July 24, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kermit The Frog

      Kermit thanks you.

      July 24, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mr. Dalloway

    Proud to be a gay atheist.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike in NYC

      Good for you Mr. Dalloway.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kermit The Frog

      As long as you dont eat frogs legs,
      welcome to the lily pad.

      July 24, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. hammerofastraea

    Devil take those fools Chick-fil-A. Don't need slime filth supporters like that around anyway.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kermit The Frog

      Be nice hammer or i will send Piggy after you.
      By the way, could you feed animal next Saturday ?
      I promise you he wont bite.

      July 24, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Josh

    By all means, hateful fatties, eat twice as much Chick-fil-A fast food fried chicken product in order to show those of us who believe in marriage equality how much you disagree with us. Don't worry. We aren't monsters. We'll pause our meal of locally sourced free-range organic grilled chicken breast, seasonal greens, and white wine long enough to ask Siri to diall 911 when your arteries burst. Frankly, this "I'll show you, I'll eat a ton of fried chicken" strategy being played by the anti gay crowd is going to be a win for the LGBT team in the long run.

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

      Based on reports run on CNN a few months back, a Chick-Fil-A bacon wrapped cheese chicken sandwich has less calories, less fat, less carbs, and less cholesterol than items marked healthy choice on applebees menu.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • w247

      I need to start a movement against Applebees. There food is contrary to my belief that all food in this country should be natural and healthy and not contain any wheat. They are discrimating against my wheat free lifestyly by KNOWINGLY buying products from companies that sell wheat!!!!!! Come on all! Let's picket Applebees!

      "The wheels on the mob go – Rabble rabble rabble rabble!"

      July 24, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Clean freak

    The NAZI party didn't like people that disagreed with them either. They beat down all oppisition to what they thought. Is that not what the gay rights people are doing too?

    July 24, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • midwest rail

      Disagreement is now a Nazi beat down ? Good grief, the melodrama.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carrot Cake Man

      Anti-gays deny they are anti-gay all the time, and then they turn around and claim their intended victims are the "real haters." Are you going to be paid for repeating that standard anti-gay LIE?

      July 24, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jackson

      One could aruge that the Catholic Church is trying to do the same thing by constantly raging against gays, using church funds to fight marriage laws, etc. So why is it ok for them to do, but not their opponents? Hypocrite much?

      By the way, you automatically lose any argument when you can't do anything but invoke the nazis. It shows you have no real contribution to make. Besides, the Nazis killed their enemies, so there is zero comparison to be made here. Gays aren't sending conservatives to the gas chamber, are they?

      July 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      What else would expect from people with "Broken Minds"?

      July 24, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Browardcountyboy

      You do not know what the word "Nazi" really means. You cannot compare the imprisonment and death of the opposition with the open disagreement that is a normal part of any democratic society.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. KNERD

    And so shall I split with Muppets and those who support them. See ya!

    July 24, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bunson E. Honeydew

      Too bad.
      Me and beaker could do some wonderful research on your brain.
      Then we could give the leftovers to The Swedish Chef.
      Bork bork bork.

      July 24, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff

    I'll also say that I never eat at Chick-fil-A, not because of their cultural stance, but because their advertising is creepy and disturbing. A bunch of quasi-intelligent cows fighting a graffiti propaganda campaign to get people to "eat mor chikin"? It's gross and disgusting.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John

    Haters gonna hate.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Yankeemom

    Thank God for a man who stands for what he believes, his faith in God. America is in the decline because we have turned our backs on God.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jackson

      How many children are molested by people who say they speak for god? Why isn't the church doing anything about *that*? Hmmmm?????? No one ever seems to want to answer that question, which is why the church keeps letting it happen.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • MastiffMommy

      AMEN!!!! We need to realize something: We are in the end of times, living the last days. Look around, and you shall see- the Bible is crystal clear .....we hate God now more than ever before, even though we dont admit so....but guess what, I WILL EAT MORE CHICK FIL A NOW, than ever before. I AM PROUD to have such brothers and sisters in Christ, that are not afraid to stand up for GOD and that live by FAITH and not by SIGHT,....yeah, GOD will prosper them and they will probably end up making more money than ever before.....so the world will not freak them out. Chick-Fil-A depends on GODS economy not the World's and they were not scared about losing business by being closed on Sundays, they will not be scared of losing business now either.....

      July 24, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Camilla Chicken

      God is everywhere.
      God is in your heart.
      How can you turn your back on god.
      That makes no sense.
      God loves everybody.

      Maybe "you" dont love everybody ?

      July 24, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Carrot Cake Man

    Anyone who wants to support the anti-gay business should get there fast. Anyone who likes their food should fill their freezers with it. This business won't be around long. Remember, fully 80% of Americans wanted and GOT DADT revoked. Any business that tells 80% of Americans they don't want our business won't be in business for long.

    I'm sure the anti-gay owner pulled enough money out of the company for a comfy retirement before he opened his mouth and put his foot in it.. This is going to hurt the employees, not him. I guess he hates his employees too.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      Dream on pole smoker!

      July 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Frank

    Yeah. If SODOMY among men rub you the wrong way your a no good S0B!
    Friggen Liberals should all be labeled as enemies of the state!

    July 24, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jackson

      And what should you label conservatives who belong to churches that do NOTHING about their pedo priest issues?

      July 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lean6

      What are you even talking about? Most people simply don't appreciate having their lunch decision portrayed as a stance on random social issues. If Walmart came out and made whatever social or political commentary, and implied that customers will still shop there because they agree or don't care, i'd go out of my way to avoid Walmart too. Don't speak for me. Period.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. krmcginnis

    How come when GLAD tries to promote their choice of life style it's ok but when Christians stand up for their life style it is considered so wrong. God gave us all the right to choose our path. Cathy did not say he was funding anti-gay organizations, tyring to keep gays out of his business etc........he said they show respect to ALL, they just do not agree with the G/L stance on marriage. They think it's ok, he doesn't........for GLAD to call on others to boycott, attack his bottom line, his business is basically reverse discrimintation so how is it any different?

    July 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Camilla Chicken

      Cathy is funding anti gay organizations.
      Even this chicken found that on google.
      Gonzo says this guy is a hippocrit.
      I think gonzo cant spell.

      July 24, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. KaseyKaye

    The gay community and it's supporters have every right to believe as they will. Those of us that don't support gay marriage have every right not to endorse something we feel is morally wrong, whether it be because we find it to be offensive to God or for some other reason. Gays can live anyway they choose to...Just don't ask me to validate their lifestyle.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      Exactly. And of course their entire goal is to NORMALIZE their illness by forcing everyone else to condone it.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lean6

      How exactly does selling a piece of chicken to a person qualify as endorsing a lifestyle? When and where during the transaction did it become necessary to stop the presses and to get something straight (pun intended)?

      July 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. zombie_response_team_NOLA

    Eat more chicken. These people have as much right to believe a lifestyle is wrong as others have a right to believe it is not. Until they say they will not serve or hire, it's not discrimination. If 51% of the population suddenly believes a behavior such as pedophilia is normal, it won't ever mean the 49% that don't are going to suddenly say "ok, you're right". Maybe the people that don't think Jim Henson is correct should boycott any and everything Henson to show their solodarity with Chick-fil-A... especially since they want to make Bert and Ernie gay and market that to kids that don't even understand what gay or straight even is. Economic attacks can go both ways.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      Jim Henson is in heaven.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • YeahRight

      "These people have as much right to believe a lifestyle is wrong as others have a right to believe it is not. Until they say they will not serve or hire, it's not discrimination. If 51% of the population suddenly believes a behavior such as pedophilia is normal'

      Being a pedophile is illegal, being gay is not. 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 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
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