Read the transcript of Roland Martin's interview with Mike Hucakbee below.
Best known for its tasty chicken, Chick-fil-A has cooked up a big batch of controversy of late and now supporters of the company's stance on gay marriage is seeking support by consumers in the form of eating.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is attempting to rally people together in support of Chick-fil-A's anti-gay marriage stance with a large eat-in demonstration.
Former Arkansas Gover Mike Huckabee, now a Baptist minister, is asking people to join him in a "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" to support a company with a large eat-in demonstration. Huckabee praises the restaurant chain, saying Chick-fil-A is "willing to take a stand for Godly values."
A couple of weeks ago, Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy weighed in on the controversial issue, saying his company backs the traditional family unit and does not believe in same-sex marriage.
Cathy's stance has since sparked large reaction throughout the country on both sides of the argument.
Huckabee plans to have the "celebration" on August 1 and so far has over 14,000 RSVPs for the event. The goal is to gather at a local Chick-fil-A, eat, and show support. The event is intended to be a counter-protest of the same-sex marriage proponents who will be protesting the company August 3.
Cities including Boston and Chicago have promised to ban the restaurant in their cities.
Huckabee talked with the Tom Joyner Morning Show today about the pending event, saying it will be "supporting the right to free speech."
"Nobody has alleged that the company has discriminated against its employees," where Huckabee says a problem could arise if the company did that.
However, since the company has never had any of these problems, Huckabee attests that people should not be fighting the company because they disagree with Cathy's personal views.
He claims that people are "trying to ruin a business, when we need every job in America," reiterating that this outrage is not just and does not represent "the America where people at least have the right to be free."
Huckabee says his event is not a protest and has even asked supporters not to bring signs or be disruptive.
Roland Martin: Hey, folks. Hope all is well with you. It is a fabulous, fabulous Tuesday. We have talked a couple times on this show regarding the Chick-fil-A Controversy in terms of comments made by its president with regards to traditional marriage. And on August 1st, tomorrow, former Presidential Candidate, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is launching a national call to action if you will, for folks who believe in Chick-fil-A’s position regarding traditional marriage against same-sex marriage to go to their stores and show their support. That has of course, stirred some folks up, so let’s go to him. Hello, good morning!
Mike Huckabee: Good morning. Let me correct one thing: it’s really not about this even saying you support the position of Chick-fil-A’s president; it’s about supporting the idea that a person who runs a company has a right to free speech, has not been disenfranchised from his First Amendment rights because he runs a company, anymore then Ben and Jerry should be disenfranchised from their views, or Jeff Besus of Amazon, or Howard Schultz of Starbuck’s. This is about whether or not people ought take action, as was being taken against Chick-fil-A, trying to get them thrown off college campuses, mayors trying to say that they shouldn’t have come to their city because they disagreed with the personal views of a person of the company. Nobody has alleged that Chick-fil-A discriminated against its customers or employees. That would be something to truly protest.
Roland Martin: Now, obviously the folks that you mentioned, they have endorsed the issue of same-sex marriage and so do you believe that there is this unequal view in this country that if you endorse same-sex marriage you are praised and celebrated and then if you say I am against that support, that marriage is meant between a man and a woman, you are denounced?
Mike Huckabee: That’s exactly what’s happening. And the irony of that is that in 32 states where the people of the state have made this decision as voters, in every one of the 32 states, including liberal states like Maine and California, the voters have affirmed traditional marriage. When Rahm Emanuel in Chicago said that Chick-fil-A doesn’t represent Chicago values, it was ultimately hilarious in that, in Chicago, same-sex marriage is illegal. So you wonder will every Catholic and Evangelical pulpit that preaches traditional marriage, are they not welcome in Chicago or Boston or Washington, D.C. or San Francisco where mayors have called for Chick-fil-A to be outed? That kind of behavior is not the America where people at least have a right to be free. And people have a right to disagree with him.
Roland Martin: Now, you spoke of the First Amendment but also customers do have a right to also protest if they so desire, so on August 3rd we’ve seen the reports where the folks who support same-sex marriage, they want their supporters to also visit Chick-fil-A stores and show their support against their position.
Mike Huckabee: You know that’s fine as long as they’re not disruptive, as long as they don’t try to impede the lawful commerce that other people who are Patrons of the store wish to take. What we’re calling for on August the 1st is not a protest. We’ve asked people don’t bring signs, don’t yell, don’t scream, don’t honk horns. Just come by and have a sandwich.
Tom Joyner: Just come by there and buy a sandwich, huh? Are you a stockholder, Governor Huckabee?
Mike Huckabee: You know, I wish I was.
Tom Joyner: They gonna make a lot of money!
Mike Huckabee: It’s a family-owned, privately-held company, which is one of the other reasons that I think the actions that have been taken, some of the most vile hate speech I’ve ever seen. And a tragedy; Don Perry, their 29-year-veteran Vice President for Public Relations who was in my studio a week before all this erupted, died of a heart attack last Friday. And tragically people took to the blogs praising his death, wishing he would turn up to a crispy nugget in Hell. I mean, just the most evil kind of thing.
Roland Martin: Also, Governor, just for one second, for our audience, he also was an African-American who was praised for his work in bringing other African-Americans in the PR business.
Tom Joyner: I didn’t know that part.
Mike Huckabee: He was a wonderful man. And a gentle, kind gentleman and didn’t deserve that. And that’s what I want to call out is that, look, we can have disagreements. People disagree with me on the issue of same-sex marriage and that’s fine. We will have a civil conversation. If we want to take it as a ballot, get your voters out. If you win, ok. If you lose, then accept it. But what we don’t need in this country is trying to ruin businesses at a time when we need every job in America. And here’s what really put me in this issue: when mayors started talking about getting these companies out of their city because they disagree with a personal philosophy, let me ask you; how do you think it would’ve gone over if the mayor of Dallas, Texas had said we don’t want any Starbuck’s restaurants in our city? We don’t want any Ben and Jerry’s. We’re not going to allow this to come to Dallas, Texas because we don’t support same-sex marriage. Do you think the [people] would’ve set oddly by and said well hey, that’s just the opinion of the mayor? I don’t think so.
Tom Joyner: Ok. So if you’re protesting, go to Chick-fil-A on August 3rd and buy some food.
Mike Huckabee: I would’nt even say it’s a protest. It’s just an affirmation of Chick-fil-A.
Roland Martin: But Governor Huckabee, your Call to Action is August 1st affirming the people who are against Chick-fil-A’s position. They’re protesting August 3rd.
Mike Huckabee: And theirs is a protest. I still shop through Amazon. I still love Starbuck’s coffee. My issue is, I’m not buying those guys’ politics. I’m buying their products. And that’s what I think people in America ought to do. If you don’t like their products, don’t buy it. But don’t punish people and business because they have a political view, unless they force the political view on you through their product.
Roland thanks Mike Huckabee for explaining his postion.