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. Mike

    Eat more Chikn!!!!!

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

      Read the "Book of Leviticus"!

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

      Everyone should read Leviticus to see the nonsense in it.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DC

    No more Chick-fil-A for me. I won't buy or consume any product that openly discriminates against a group of people. If we support Chick-fil-A we're sending a message that it's ok to discriminate. So what will be next? Jews? This is how the Nazzis got the entire German population to hate Jews, by siting "god" as being on their side. This isn't about gays or marriage, but openly adimitting hate towards a group of people. God makes no mistakes and he made us all different fo a reason. Good bye Chick-fil-A, see you again if you ever change your mind.

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

      Good point, if the CEO of this company said that the Holocaust never happened, half the people of this room would still support his company.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nate

      Discriminate? I didn't know chick-fil-a refused to serve gays. They just stated their beliefs.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • huff

      Bad analogy. In WWII Jews were blamed for a wide variety of issues from economy, politics etc. Chik-fil-A isn't blaming gays for anything. They employ them, they serve them all just the same as anyone else. The CEO simply said what they believe in traditional marriage. Thats it. No discrimination, no hate, no blame. Not everyone must believe in YOUR way just as you dont have to believe in theirs.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • CB

      I am sorry, I must have missed the part where they said, "We hate gay people and we refuse to serve they". Their CEO was asked a question and he responded openly and honestly. Would you have preferred him to say "No comment"?

      July 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • RC3

      What ever happen to this tolerance thing I hear everyone talk about. Is that only a one way thing?

      July 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. TheBigSarge

    me? i ate at one of their restraunts once. thought the food tasted like cardboard on a bun. never ate there again.

    i do know that sanctions work both ways. i wont be buying any of my 3 grandchildren or nieces and nephews any muppet products. especially that perverted tickle-me-elmo that in my opinion emphasises bullying and pedofilia.


    July 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Manuel J.

      I'm with you on that! I will NOT BUY ANY Sesame products from here to eternity!!

      July 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wing Nuts Can't Stand The Truth

      Here drink this nice glass of
      K onservative
      K hristian
      K ool-Aid
      There now you're all better that's a good sheeple.

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

      Why stop there sarge?

      Might as well not buy your grandchildren any other products except those made explicitly by christian-based manufacturers, because most toy makers out there do not take an anti-gay marriage stance. Looks like jesus action figures here on out.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tolerance

      For those no longer buying children muppet toys, remember they are owned by Disney. Boycott them all. I'm sure your children will be pleased.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • brainbomb

      I hope the little ones in your crew understand that you are just on a different planet then everyone else. Or at least have better reading comprehension.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ufia

    You tell 'em, Kermit.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. TH

    **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.**

    Really? Then why are you opening your big fat mouth about a subject that is clearly political in nature. What a moronic company.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • What a Idiot!

      @ TH Firstly, he opened his 'big fat mouth' to repond to the interviewer on the Baptist Radio.

      Perhpas another question your should ask yourself, is why was JHC taking money and selling their toys NOT knowing that CFA was a Christian company. They JUST found out about it?? So...who is being political?

      July 24, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • huff

      Its been well known for decades that Chik-Fil-A's corporate ownership is family oriented and very religious. The CEO was asked about their views and they replied. The answer was already known...except by a few it seems!

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

    Two things to say after reading some of these posts:

    1. I'm so tired of the word "hater" be thrown around so freely. Just because I don't agree with you on something doesn't mean I hate anybody. One of my roommates in college was gay and we disagreed on things. It certainly doesn't mean I hate him.

    2. I think if I knew every CEO's stance on any issue I wouldn't be able to go anywhere or buy anything. To boycott a business simply because of a different belief is ridiculous. Don't be a hater 🙂

    July 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Manuel J.

      @ Trowe. Unfortunately, you make too much sense and there are too many morons on both sides of this debate!!

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

      They have a right to thier belief.
      I have a right to mine.
      Right ?

      Excuse me if i dont participate in bying thier product.
      Cathey also contributes money to groups that are trying
      to pass legislation against gay people.

      That is an attack and assault on my rights as an American.

      Now do you get the picture ?
      This is war.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John R. Stallworth

    Say anything defamitory or untrue about conservatives, Christians, pro-lifers or creationists; however, don't you dare think of uttering a word critical of gays. They are sacrosanct. The fact that they have spread AIDS across the globe is irrelevant.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Wow ... discriminatory AND ignorant. Don't see those two hand-in-hand very much ... oh, wait..

      July 24, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bryan

    Yet again the discriminatED become the discriminatERS.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Spurs

    Chick Fil-A will most likely gain as many customers as it loses. Private companies can make whatever business decision they choose. So can you. Eat there, don't eat there...your choice.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. frank

    no more KFC or Popeye's...Chic Fil A all the WAY!
    stop this gay crap now.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Robbie

    Thank you Chick Fil-A for not being ashamed to stand up for your Christian values.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lean6

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

    July 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Will

    This whole thing makes about as much sense as the WWE's anti-bullying campaign. I prefer my fast food without preachy religious undertones. I hope the CEO has also read what Jesus has to say about the logistics of wealthy men getting into heaven.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. whocares

    chikfila is not saying they wont serve gays. so whats the problem? they are not hating on them, but only sticking to their beliefs, whats wrong with that?

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


      You mean you find nothing wrong with donating more than $2 million to anti-gay causes?

      July 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      @whocares – This company contributes large amounts of money to organizations that actively promote discrimination against gays. Get educated.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Luke

    I love he food at Chic-fil-A – to bad the company is run by such a flaming bigot.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • huff

      Hmm, you believe in gay marriage, so you're a bigot towards those that believe in traditional marriage. Chik-Fil-A simply said they believe in traditional family values and marriage. They said NOTHING against gays if thats what they wish to believe in.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
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