Two years after making headlines by publicly opposing gay marriage, Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-A, admits it was a mistake for he and his company to take a position on the issue.
“Every leader goes through different phases of maturity, growth and development and it helps by (recognizing) the mistakes that you make,” Cathy said. “And you learn from those mistakes. If not, you’re just a fool. I’m thankful that I lived through it and I learned a lot from it.
In an interview with Leon Stafford for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Cathy doesn’t apologize for his previous public stance against gay marriage and, in fact, confirms that his personal position on same-sex marriage remains unchanged.
“I think the time of truths and principles are captured and codified in God’s word and I’m just personally committed to that,” he said. “I know others feel very different from that and I respect their opinion and I hope that they would be respectful of mine.”
Rather, Cathy concedes that his public opposition of gay marriage was bad for business.
“Consumers want to do business with brands that they can interface with, that they can relate with,” Cathy said. “And it’s probably very wise from our standpoint to make sure that we present our brand in a compelling way that the consumer can relate to.”
Cathy was also in the news for a controversial tweet lamenting the Supreme Court's decision to strike down DOMA as a “sad day” for our country.
When asked his thoughts about the continuing gay marriage debate and surrounding legislation, Cathy said, “I think that’s a political debate that’s going to rage on and the wiser thing for us to do is to stay focused on customer service.”
Even though Cathy has admitted it was a mistake to conflate his personal beliefs with business, Chick-fil-A will remain the only major fast food chain that isn’t open for business on Sundays.