Chick-fil-A CEO Regrets Controversy... But
Dan Cathy, the CEO of Atlanta-based fast food chain Chick-fil-A who made headlines nearly two years ago for denouncing gay marriage, opened up about his controversial statements in a new interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Friday.
"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 the summer of 2012, Cathy, 61, condemned gay marriage in a radio interview, saying same-sex marriage supporters are "arrogant" for going against God. He also defended Chick-fil-A’s longstanding anti-gay stance
"I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ’We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’" Cathy said. "And I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about."
When he was criticized for his comments, Cathy said he was "guilty as charged" and is very "supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit."
"We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that," Cathy told the Baptist Press back in 2012.
Two years later, Cathy says his comments and the drama that ensued not long after, still lingers, even though the company put out press releases saying they do not discriminate against customers or employees based on sexual orientation. Nevertheless, he said that he won’t change the fast food’s Christian-based policies, including closing stores on Sundays and supporting the traditional family.
"Probably the elements that were stressful for me most is from our internal staff and from operators and how this may be affecting them," Cathy said. "The bottom line is we have a responsibility here to keep the whole of the organization in mind and it has to take precedence over the personal expression and opinion on social issues."