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July 27, 2012

Henson drops Chick-fil-A over anti-marriage stance

Atlanta--After years of denying an anti-gay bias, Chick-fil-A chief operating officer Dan Cathy told the Biblical Recorder that the company was “guilty as charged” in opposing same-sex marriage.

He refused to characterize the fast-food chain as a “Christian business.”

“There is no such thing as a Christian business. Christ never died for a corporation . . .  Companies are not lost or saved, but certainly individuals are.”

“But as an organization we can operate on biblical principles. So that is what we claim to be . . . based on biblical principles . . .” he continued in the interview, which came out July 2.

Through the company’s WinShape Foundation, it has donated millions of dollars to anti-gay organizations, like the Marriage and Family Foundation, Exodus International and the Family Research Council. In 2010 alone, $1.9 million was donated to groups with anti-gay positions, according to a report from Media Matters.

The company then released a statement on July 19 saying, “Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”

The comments, published in an article by Shan Li in the Los Angeles Times, also included a note that the company is dedicated to treating “every person with honor, dignity and respect - regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”

However, spokesman Don Perry refused to answer questions about whether the company’s charitable foundation would continue to donate to anti-gay organizations.

While almost certainly ensuring a drop in support from LGBT customers who might not have known about the stance of the company’s highest officials and their charity wing, the article also alienated the company that is currently supplying the toys for the Chick-fil-A kids’ meals.

The Jim Henson Company--of Muppets fame--announced that it would no longer do business with the restaurant chain, and that it was donating profits from the current contract to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

Henson Creature Workshop toys are offered in the children’s meals, but that will not continue past the term of the current contract.

The Henson Company Facebook page carried the statement on July 20, “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. 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.”

Members of the group Get Equal are sponsoring a national same-sex kiss-in at Chick-fil-A stores on August 3 at 8 pm, according to a Facebook page.

There were no comments forthcoming from Chick-fil-A or the Winshape Foundation on their stance on interspecies relationships, like the one between Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy.

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