Huckabee: Chick-fil-A appreciation day a 'huge success'

Mike Huckabee weighs in on the Chick-fil-A 'day of appreciation' and the 'kiss-in' being launched by activists.


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 3, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS HOST: Let's get right to our "Top Story" -- the latest chapter in the Chick-Fil-A gay marriage controversy. Tonight, gay rights activists are planning a kiss-in at various Chick-Fil-A restaurants throughout the country. The brouhaha began when the chain's owner Dan Cathy recently went public in an interview with his opposition to gay marriage. What followed was a tsunami of attacks against the chain with some left-wing politicians going so far as to say the restaurants are no longer welcome in their city.

In response, Fox News host and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a traditional values guy, organized a Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day. Hundreds of thousands of people turned out to support Cathy's business on Wednesday and the chain says it had record sales.

Governor Huckabee joins us right now. Governor, was it a success?

MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: I think it was a huge success. And it wasn't a success against anybody. This was not a protest. It was an affirmation of the right of an owner of a business to speak his or her convictions. That's what Dan Cathy did. That's what America is all about. And when government officials start saying we're not going to welcome his business here because of a personal view that he holds, Juan, that's what we expect in North Korea or in Iran, not in the United States.

WILLIAMS: I couldn't agree with you more on this. And obviously you and I obviously have political -- but I couldn't agree with you more.


WILLIAMS: I think you don't punish people for speaking their mind and I felt the burn coming from that in my life so I know it well.

But I just want to ask you this from the other point of view. Is he saying that let's say a granddad who is raising a granddaughter is not a family? Is he saying that gay couple that's raising a child is not a legitimate family?

HUCKABEE: I think he's not trying to get into the nuances of what someone else chooses to do. He's taking a stand for a biblical view of marriage, which shouldn't be a big surprise to anybody who is either Catholic or Evangelical because the biblical view of marriage really comes from Jesus. A man shall leave his mother and father, a woman shall leave her home and the two shall become one flesh. That's pretty clear what that means.

Now does that mean people have to agree with that? Of course not. In America they don't. But it's a matter of having the idea of tolerance. Let's tolerate Christians. It's interesting, Juan, I don't hear anyone including these public officials condemning the Muslims who have a far stronger anti-gay position than -- than any Christian.

And the very day Rahm Emanuel is up there criticizing and saying that Dan Cathy's values aren't Chicago values he had his arm around Louis Farrakhan who is anti-Semitic, anti-woman, who's made some very strong statements against same-sex marriage. I think that hypocrisy and the inconsistency is part of the problem. But the bullying toward Chick-Fil-A trying to put them out of business, I find that offensive.

Because look, I go and visit people all the time whose businesses maybe are led by people I don't agree with I'm buying their product, not their politics.

WILLIAMS: Absolutely. So if you go to Ben and Jerry's it doesn't mean you're buying liberal politics; it means you're buying an ice cream.

HUCKABEE: No, I sip Starbucks, I order things from Amazon and I love Apple computer products. I'm not stopping my patronage of those firms unless they were to ever put something in their bag when I bought something that said "We hate Christians." They haven't done that. They treat me respectfully as a customer. And all that matters with Chick-Fil-A do they treat their customers with respect?

WILLIAMS: I agree. So this is the thing. One of the Chicago aldermen who says that he wants to stop Chick-Fil-A from coming in says, "Where is their anti-discrimination policy?" And when it's pointed out to him that they do have an anti-discrimination policy in terms of employment.


WILLIAMS: He says that doesn't apply to customers. Is there any evidence that Chick-Fil-A ever discriminated against anybody -- gays, straight, black, white, Mormon, Muslim anybody?

HUCKABEE: No. There is not. In fact, there is a great record of Chick-Fil-A having sponsored millions of dollars worth of college scholarships for their employees and being highly invested in the communities where they have something like 1,600 stores.

This is a very responsible corporate entity. They're family owned, they're privately held. They are not a public company so you know they can pretty much have the philosophy they want. Fortunately for America it's a philosophy that is very generous. Their charitable foundation has done good things. I don't see what the problem is.

WILLIAMS: All right. Now you said a moment ago it's about tolerance. What do you, Mike Huckabee, traditional value guy think about the kiss-in tonight being held by gay, lesbian transgender people right in front of Chick-Fil-A as a protest against Dan Cathy?

HUCKABEE: In America I think as long as they don't impede business, they don't interfere with customers getting in or out of the store I think they are perfectly within their rights. You see the point is, Juan, I think I am far more tolerant of people being able to disagree with me than they seem to be with being able to have me disagree with them. That's fine. If they think that that will help their cause, I'm not sure it will, but if that's what they wish to do and make a statement that is within the law, then you know what, I say in America more power to you.

That's what this country is all about. It's what makes it a great place to be.

WILLIAMS: Now the Gay Alliance against Defamation, GLAAD, says that in fact Chick-Fil-A has been financing groups that have been engaged in anti- lesbian, anti-gay, anti-bisexual activities.

HUCKABEE: Well, they say that anyone who doesn't agree with same-sex marriage is involved in anti-gay.

For example one of the groups they target, and even go so far as to ridiculously call a hate group, is the Family Research Council. That is a highly respected Christian organization.

WILLIAMS: Well hang on, hang on. Let's listen to Barney Frank on just this point. Our friend Barney Frank. Here he is.


BARNEY FRANK, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: It's entirely legitimate for individuals to decide that I don't want to eat there. I don't think government should discriminate against Chick-Fil-A because of the views of the owner. I would not personally want to eat there. I wouldn't support a guy who thinks I shouldn't have my rights. But I don't think the government should do that.


WILLIAMS: Well that's old Barney saying oh yes you know what everybody -- if you don't agree with this position, stay away. And -- and in fact, Jim Henson -- the Jim Henson Company they are saying they are pulling their toys from Chick-Fil-A.

HUCKABEE: Yes I find that unfortunate. Again, that's their right to do it but you know, how do you decide when to do business with a company? First of all even liberal companies like Ben and Jerry's I'm sure they have people who work for Ben and Jerry's that are Christian. If I take all my business away I may be hurting some Christians who work at Ben and Jerry's.

The fact that they want to give their money to things that I don't care for, I can make that decision here is the bigger point I would make, Juan. I think that the issue is patronize people that you like but buy products and if they want to use their profits for -- for whatever purpose --

WILLIAMS: For political --


HUCKABEE: Respect it. Respect it.

WILLIAMS: But you know, but here is the thing too, no evidence of discrimination by Chick-Fil-A.

HUCKABEE: No, not at all.

WILLIAMS: Right? Ok, they may support groups that are anti-gay but they are not discriminating in the way that they do business.

Governor, thanks for coming in.

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