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. paul

    Wednesday, August 1, 2012 is Chick Fil-A Appreciation Day. Show up at your local Chick Fil-A on that date and eat to show your support for the owner/management. Chick Fil-A should be praised for it's stand for what's right and decent.

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

      Chick-fil-A believes in marriage as in the bible? So they thing a man should have multiple wives?! Yep, they want their fill of chicks.

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

      Only a conservative would think hate and discrimination is right and decent, just like they did in the 50's and 60's against African-Americans. If you guys want to have a country run by biblical law, then move to Afghanistan.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • King

      Never eat there. Not ever.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • techgirl

      @ Bill

      PLEASE stop comparing being gay with being African American. One has nothing to do with other. One is a choice, the other is a default.
      Replace Gay with African American.
      It doesn't even make sense to say that someone doesn't support being African American!

      July 24, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erik

      "One is a choice, the other is a default."

      All major medical professional organizations concur that sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be changed, from gay to straight or otherwise. The American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and European Psychological, Psychiatric, and Medical Associations all agree with this, as does the World Health Organization and the medical organizations of Japan, China, and most recently, Thailand. Furthermore, attempts to change one's sexual orientation can be psychologically damaging, and cause great inner turmoil and depression, especially for Christian gays and lesbians.

      The scientific evidence of the innateness of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism is overwhelming, and more peer-reviewed studies which bolster this fact are being added all the time. Science has long regarded sexual orientation – and that's all sexual orientations, including heterosexuality – as a phenotype. Simply put, a phenotype is an observable set of properties that varies among individuals and is deeply rooted in biology. For the scientific community, the role of genetics in sexuality is about as "disputable" as the role of evolution in biology.

      On the second point, that there is no conclusion that there is a "gay gene," they are right. No so-called gay gene has been found, and it's highly unlikely that one ever will. This is where conservative Christians and Muslims quickly say "See, I told you so! There's no gay gene, so being gay is a choice!"

      The fact that a so-called "gay gene" has not been discovered does not mean that homosexuality is not genetic in its causation. This is understandably something that can seem a bit strange to those who have not been educated in fields of science and advanced biology, and it is also why people who are not scientists ought not try to explain the processes in simple black-and-white terms. There is no gay gene, but there is also no "height gene" or "skin tone gene" or "left-handed gene." These, like sexuality, have a heritable aspect, but no one dominant gene is responsible for them.

      Many genes, working in sync, contribute to the phenotype and therefore do have a role in sexual orientation. In many animal model systems, for example, the precise genes involved in sexual partner selection have been identified, and their neuro-biochemical pathways have been worked out in great detail. A great number of these mechanisms have been preserved evolutionarily in humans, just as they are for every other behavioral trait we know (including heterosexuality).

      There are many biologic traits which are not specifically genetic but are biologic nonetheless. These traits are rooted in hormonal influences, contributed especially during the early stages of fetal development. This too is indisputable and based on extensive peer-reviewed research the world over. Such prenatal hormonal influences are not genetic per se, but are inborn, natural, and biologic nevertheless.

      July 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • YeahRight

      "Replace Gay with African American.
      It doesn't even make sense to say that someone doesn't support being African American!"

      It's about civil rights. Marriage was defined by the US Supreme Court as a civil right. Recognized federal civil rights law in the United States is grounded in the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court. By this standard, marriage has long been established as a civil right.

      The operative constitutional text is section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1868. The relevant passages read as follows:

      No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws

      July 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Former Church-Goer

    Interesting hypothetical for supporter of the "biblical definition of marriage": Is there any point at which you would draw the line? If (hypothetically, just go with this for a minute) the Bible said that it was a sin to be black, a sin to be a woman or a sin to be disabled, would you support that? Would you walk around and say "It's the word of God. It's black and white. A sin is a sin."?

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

      Interesting that you must go to a hypothetical to come up with a reason for those that believe in the word of God as truth.

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

      If our Heavenly Father has asked us to live a certain way, then why would we want to argue with him?

      July 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • OpenUReyes

      How many of these so-called true Christian have ever read the Book of Leviticus, which forms the backbone for the argument against gay marriage. It is a brutal book in the Bible in which nearly any violation is punishable by death, I wonder how many of these "Good Christians" would want to be subject to such extreme measures.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      "IF" you weren't stupid, would you have commented?

      July 24, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      Since when is gender or race the same thing as orientation? Orientation can't be defined by biology while the other two can. For instance there are plenty of people who were once gay and are now straight and were straight and now gay. Or an infant we cannot know whether they will be gay or not, because biology doesn't tell us. While race and gender can be determined in this way.

      Hypotheticals are meaningless because the Bible doesn't teach those things.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Gary

    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,"

    I guess only if it includes what they agree with and is not diverse from their ideas.

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

      Ahh...the old "if-you-don't-support-my-lack-of-diversity-than-you-don't-support-diversity" argument. An illogical argument that only makes sense to idiots.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • James PDX

      So your argument is that people who are for diversity and inclusiveness should count those who are against diversity and inclusiveness as being diverse and, therefore, worthy of inclusiveness? What a staggeringly dumb idea.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Norm

    It's pretty obvious why this guy is so anti-gay.
    With a last name like "Cathy"...what do you think he went through all through his school years.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BCW - NYC

    I agree with IEK. I do not want to spend money at a business / company that support a cause which discriminate a specific group. Sorry, no fried chicken.

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

      Lol all he did was say that he believed marriage between man and women. No where did he say anything about not hiring nor discriminating against Gays.

      This is a classic boy cried wolf situation.

      So let me ask Gay community a question, is it possible to disagree with Gay lifestyle and not be a bigot? Or is it agree with Gay community or we'll bully you by calling you a hateful person.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lester Singleton

    People need better things to do with their time. So the Chick fil A owner disagrees with gay marriage, who cares?! Its only a big deal because those who support gay marriage make it a big deal. You say you dont like people forcing their hate down your throats? What do you call what you are doing in retaliation to his statement on HIS belief? There will never be a time when the gay community will be accepted by everyone so why do we act like there will be by forcing the issue? There will always be a battle and there will always be discrimination, it is in the nature of every one of us whether you admit it or not.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      Lester you seem to be under the misconception that life is......fair.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lester Singleton

      Actually I think the exact opposite. Life isn't fair so people need to stop thinking that any amount of complaining or protesting will ever change the personal view of some people.

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

    I find it quite amusing that the very people that are wanting to be accepted for who they are want to protest anybody that has a different opinion. Chick Fil A isn't sending employees to protest LGBT events. They don't discriminate against gay and lesbian employees. They just choose, as a privately held company, to not sponsor certain organizations that they don't agree with. The article clearly states that Henson company was getting paid by Chick Fil A. If you don't want their money for your toys because they have a different philosophy on marriage then don't take it. How can people expect acceptance of their lifestyle when they don't even tolerate a different view!

    July 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lester Singleton

      Well said

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

      How do you know that as a fact, certainly the CEO's behavior would say otherwise.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      "How can people expect acceptance of their lifestyle when they don't even tolerate a different view!" – – That argument makes no sense considering the "different view" that isn't being tolerated IS their non-acceptance of their lifestyle.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. chocokat

    Sorry. My last post was in response to 'Sick of Hypocrisy'.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Norm

    I never ate there because I always thought the name sounded kinda gay.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • DanW

      I couldn't figure out how to pronounce it. I thought it was either chick-FILL-ah or chick-fill-AH.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Geg4hobbit

    This story states "Muppets" but Lisa speaks for the Jim Hanson company who do not own the Muppets, the Walt Disney Company owens the Muppets now. CNN you need to correct this unless The Disney Company comes out and states this Kermit and his gang can still be involved with Chick-fil-A.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. GianCarlo

    What if the CEO of McDonalds were to come out and say, the supports GAY 100% and with talk bad about religions. How would the Christians react? Well it's the same thing in reverse. If you in business you should keep your religious beliefs to yourself, otherwise post a notice on the your front door and say "CHRISTIANS ONLY"

    July 24, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. DanW

    Ah, the tolerance that these perfect sin-free Christians show for the people that they consider not as pure as they are. Warms the heart (or is that acid reflux?)

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

      There is no tolerance for sin. Christ loved the sinner, as demonstrated many times in the bible, but never accepted their sin. He would tell them to go and sin no more. Far from intolerant.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ivan


      Actually if they are really Christians then they should be the first to admit that they are not perfect and needed salvation through Jesus. If they were sin-free then they wouldn't need Jesus. So the first group to raise it's hands to admit to imperfection should be the professed Christian.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mark

    Amazing to me that anyone would use bronze age mythology as a basis to think about the modern world. Idiocy.

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

      Yes, because modern man knows everything. The most brilliant minds of their time thought the earth was the center of the universe, that the earth was flat, that a good blood letting got rid of the bad humors, that the cell was the smallest particle.... We continue to prove we do not know everything, yet God's word is still true.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lyn

    Whatever happened to freedom of religion? >:{

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

      What ever happened to the separation of Church and State?
      Freedom of Religion allows for the practice of any religion. Freedom of Speech allows anyone to speak about whatever, including religion.
      When a powerful figure speaks using Freedom of Speech, he, she or that corporation (which are now "people") influences people.
      When a powerful figure donates money to affect politics, then it is open season on that figure.
      When those who desire Church and State to recombine are influencing people through words and money, then those who desire Church and State to remain separate will give back equal force of power.
      Freedom of Religion is not under attack. The right for our country (the State) to make laws and keep the Church out of it is.
      Nowhere do you see anyone saying Christians cannot practice their beliefs. What you see is the growing fight for equal rights of a group of people who just want to be included in society as equals.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rainbow Rising

      You are free to believe what you want.
      You are not free to use your religion to pass
      laws against other people.

      You got that ?


      July 24, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Angie

    I will fully support Chick-Fil-A always and forever and ever. Yeah, eat more Chikin ♥

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