Last Updated:September 29 @ 07:04 pm

Chick-fil-A CEO says opposing same-sex marriage a business mistake

By United Press International

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.

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[Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

Copyright 2014 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.

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35 Comments

  1. gentlemanjimComment by gentlemanjim
    March 19, 2014 @ 6:02 am

    I had never eaten at a Chick-fil-A before all of the hoopla about his statement, but I stopped into a store a got a sandwich to support his views. I’ve been going there since then and I will continue to do so. You can’t let a bunch of wing nuts run your business and corrupt your beliefs.

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    Rating: 4.6/5 (101 votes cast)
  2. Scruffy-USN-RetiredComment by kerryp
    March 19, 2014 @ 6:27 am

    I am not sure that being against LGBTs is a bad business idea.
    I did not use to eat at Chick-fil-A until I found out that they opposed gay marriage and are closed on Sundays. Now I eat there twice a week.
    Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

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    Rating: 4.6/5 (121 votes cast)
    • gopuc12450Comment by gopuc12450
      March 19, 2014 @ 7:48 am

      I agree. In my business, it would not have mattered.
      That said, public interface is a different thing, but no one must kowtow to radical pressure.

      As I see it, Dan Cathy was standing for his own personal views and principals – a very good thing.
      I do not see Dan Cathy as the culprit.
      Dan Cathy was reacting to a situation thrown in his face – he said NOTHING, until aggressors targeted HIS business.

      ‘Publicly change your Religious Convictions and Beliefs to satisfy my perversion, is not Freedom-in America’.

      Dan Cathy stood, I applaud him, and I think time will vindicate him. The Good will stay with him

      Someone risked it all, and Stood for what they believe – Pay attention Congress!

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      Rating: 4.5/5 (104 votes cast)
    • davidlmComment by davidlm
      March 19, 2014 @ 9:58 pm

      Proverbs 28:6 Better is the poor who walks in his integrity Than he who is crooked though he be rich.

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      Rating: 4.8/5 (17 votes cast)
    • joebuckComment by joebuck
      March 20, 2014 @ 4:34 am

      STOP referring queer perverts as LGTB. Call them what they are, QUEER PERVERTS. LGTB is a ridiculous pc acronym. When will right leaning folks ever learn….!

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      Rating: 3.3/5 (16 votes cast)
  3. mbnickComment by mbnick
    March 19, 2014 @ 9:10 am

    How terrible that he exercised his 1st Amendment rights to express his views and religious beliefs which he is also supposed to be free to do. How intolerant and anti-American of a small group to think they have the right to deny his Constitutional rights. I will have lunch there today and feel it is unfortunate that he feels he has to “shut up”.
    I will just add this to the LONG list of reasons why ALL control freak Democrats must now be removed from public office, our schools, and our Courts.

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    Rating: 4.5/5 (96 votes cast)
  4. lynComment by lyn
    March 19, 2014 @ 9:32 am

    I certainly hope that the “less money in his pocket” is not the reason for backtracking on a free speech right!
    And that one’s personal beliefs are not set aside in order to bend to immorality!

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    Rating: 4.3/5 (58 votes cast)
    • cyoderComment by cyoder
      March 20, 2014 @ 8:20 am

      As I understand it, he gained more business than he lost.

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      Rating: 1.0/5 (1 vote cast)
  5. Mort_fComment by Mort_f
    March 19, 2014 @ 9:46 am

    Gee. In my family, his stance has increased our enjoyment of the food and service at Chick=fil-A.

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    Rating: 4.4/5 (65 votes cast)
  6. motleybloggerComment by larrybradley
    March 19, 2014 @ 9:51 am

    “What does it profit a man…”

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    • sirodComment by sirod
      March 19, 2014 @ 4:05 pm

      Great scripture mention. Thank you.

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      Rating: 4.4/5 (13 votes cast)
  7. beowolfeComment by beowolfe
    March 19, 2014 @ 10:04 am

    For everyone of you who went to Chic-fila-A once after the incident, 10 regular customers stopped going.

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    • LenaComment by Lena
      March 19, 2014 @ 10:19 am

      Not so.

      The company grew 14% since Cathey stood up for his beliefs.

      From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
      http://www.ajc.com/news/business/chick-fil-a-keeps-growing-despite-uproar/nT85n/

      Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy’s controversial comments on “biblical” marriage last summer and the uproar that followed didn’t dampen the Atlanta company’s annual sales.

      The fast food giant, the nation’s second-largest chicken chain, ended 2012 with $4.6 billion in sales — up 14 percent from $4.1 billion a year earlier. The company also opened 96 news stores, four more than the year before.

      The company does not have to publicize financial results because it is privately owned. It made revenue and store growth figures available at the request of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

      Apparently, it did not hurt his business, but I’m sure it caused him a lot of trouble and created a lot of personal stress for him.

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      Rating: 4.8/5 (70 votes cast)
    • Mort_fComment by Mort_f
      March 19, 2014 @ 10:34 am

      Perhaps Cathy was projecting more than 14% growth, and he did not achieve that goal. All I know is that each time I have eaten there, there was no lack of customers, and there were more there than at a neighboring MacDonalds or Burger King.

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      Rating: 4.9/5 (29 votes cast)
    • gopuc12450Comment by gopuc12450
      March 19, 2014 @ 3:04 pm

      Interesting. Please publish your stats.

      Liberals DO have statistics, do they not?

      Liberals have never been known to be loquacious.

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      Rating: 4.6/5 (10 votes cast)
  8. AJEComment by AJE
    March 19, 2014 @ 10:11 am

    Well when I was young my parents showed me a picture of a sign posted on a business “Irish not wanted.” When I moved to Florida I saw an anti Semitic sign “Century Villages not Welcomed.” Some old timers will remember signs “White Only” or “Colored Only.” What really counts is a Constitutional guarantee of “Freedom of Religion’ hinged to Freedom from “Religious Persecution” and that we are all equal and have a right to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness>” Say what you will but in business the old adage of keeping away from political and religious disputes seems to still hold water. I happen to like Chic Fil A for its quality product, the money, and service and I hope they stay in business by increasing their market share now that they understand some marketing pitfalls.

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    • davidlmComment by davidlm
      March 19, 2014 @ 5:28 pm

      Rather than criticize, I think it is worth pointing out that pedophiles are the new “up n coming” sex-based minorities demanding their “equality” and, those who are the supposed professionals are arguing that they too are “born that way.”
      Yet, if all that is needed to qualify as an equality rights issue is a stated sexual preference for that which deviates from the norm, there is no justifiable argument against any sexually deviant person claiming an abnormal preference.

      Sex isn’t a right – it’s a choice. So sad that so many can’t figure that out, don’t want to figure that out, or are intentionally mislead. Ethnic minorities – the real minorities – can’t choose not to reveal what their genetic ethnicity obviates them to be. “Gays” were long able to hide their preference when lying to get into the military. Blacks and Native Americans, (for example), can not.

      You should also know, children born blind, crippled and in other ways handicapped or disabled (visibly or internally) are also humans, and worthy of love and respect. But, for those which medical treatment is available but refused, (as modern scientific research has demonstrated is possible for the same-sex attracted), such people should not be afforded superior rights that trump those of others, just because they prefer to remain that way.

      (See outside the Beltway’s article on “Curing Gay Shep.” It was posted way back in 2006.)

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      Rating: 4.1/5 (10 votes cast)
  9. highpoint727Comment by highpoint727
    March 19, 2014 @ 10:41 am

    I have been eating every Friday afternoon at our Annapolis Chick-fil-a for the past 4 years and have been delighted with so many things that I have experienced when there. The respectful attitude of the servers, the great quality of the food and the clean surroundings for my grandchild to play in with other children. I am appreciative of the establishment not being open on Sundays knowing that the employees have a ‘day of rest’. I am from the generation that believes in ‘Freedom of Religion’ and saw many of the signs mentioned in a previous comment. My sincere compliment goes to Dan Cathy for his love of the Word of God and his deep conviction to that Word.

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    Rating: 4.7/5 (37 votes cast)
    • kingairpilotComment by kingairpilot
      March 19, 2014 @ 11:28 am

      Good points, but there are many Muslims, Jewish, Seventh Day Adventists and young people of other faiths who observe their Day of rest on other than Sundays. For example, Jesus observed Saturday as his day of rest. Those folks might be willing to work on Sunday and appreciate the job.

      I also have been patronizing the local Chick-fil-A since the protests began and really enjoy the product and the nice folks who work there. No complaints, just find it interesting to see a phrase such as “…a deep conviction to (the Word of God)” when the switch to Sunday occurred more than 300 years after the “Word”. NONE of the early followers, or even the later followers (Paul) observed Sunday.

      The result is that potential employees who observe their day of rest, or sabbath, on a different day cannot look forward to working six days a week.

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    • beowulf32Comment by beowulf32
      March 19, 2014 @ 2:12 pm

      If homosexuals eat at this place its best to keep a close eye on your children,these same gay people that like to boycott to shut people up. Dont want society to find out that they are nothing but same sex Pedophiles that will prey on little boys and girls from the ages of 3 to 18, and they will molest and rape children. I say where is there rights in all of this, they have a right to grow up and be all God intended them to be.

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    • Mort_fComment by Mort_f
      March 19, 2014 @ 9:17 pm

      Actually to kingairpilot

      Jesus was a jew, and as such his sabbath was Friday sundown to Saturday sundown. As others have pointed out moving the Christian Sabbath to Sunday came many years later. But sobeit, live and let live, let Christians enjoy their Sunday sabbath, but do not deny others theirs, whether they wish to obey their own Sabbath laws or not. Fortunately for some of us, most of those obnoxious, and intolerant, ‘Blue’ laws have been repealed.

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  10. lee123Comment by lee123
    March 19, 2014 @ 11:12 am

    When I lived in Seattle 10 years ago many businesses that had extremely derogatory posters and bumper stickers aimed at conservatives, Republicans, or just people who didn’t agree with their liberal beliefs. A printing business in the building next door to where I worked had a picture of President Bush with 666 on his forehead and pointed ears in their window. It is strange how conservatives worry so much about losing business or driving away the “independents” if we state our beliefs. Most liberals don’t worry about it at all.

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    Rating: 4.9/5 (36 votes cast)
  11. g13manComment by g13man
    March 19, 2014 @ 11:39 am

    , being a believer , I do not understand same sex marriage . Marriage is a 5000 Plus year definition . For the courts to change the definition makes me unable to ever be on a jury again since i now do not know what the words they are using means .[ let your yes be a yes , your no be a no .

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    • kingairpilotComment by kingairpilot
      March 19, 2014 @ 11:56 am

      Right, but that is the way the left takes the high ground, by first changing the meaning of words.
      Gay is no longer a usable synonym for happy.
      Don’t aggressively support something? Means a Hater.
      Just suggest that it is unwise to speak about a certain subject and we are accused of opposing the first amendment rights of someone.

      Some folks just get up in the morning and look forward to getting offended.

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  12. xjandinComment by xjandin
    March 19, 2014 @ 12:35 pm

    What is most disturbing about all this, is that supporting traditional marriage and heterosexual relations is now ‘controversial’ in America.

    No nation has ever survived a general acceptance of homosexuality. Despite what the LGBT community says, there is a God and He does not support any nation that supports homosexuality. Without a dramatic return to morality, this will end very badly.

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  13. middlegroundComment by middleground
    March 19, 2014 @ 12:46 pm

    It was interesting that Putin didn’t want our “corrupt” society infecting Russian society with our GLBT recruiters. The old USSR supposedly had no religion and ours did, so what do you conclude from that? My take is that everyone outside Hollywood views some of our current policies as decadent.

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    • sirodComment by sirod
      March 19, 2014 @ 4:11 pm

      Everyone outside of Hollywood and Washington DC.

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    • hardheadedComment by hardheaded
      March 20, 2014 @ 10:47 am

      They had religion, they just could not show it public.
      Or freely, they had to hide it.

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  14. bcsbugComment by bcsbug
    March 19, 2014 @ 1:22 pm

    Don’t tell me he went all wishy-washy on us? That would be very, very foolish with so many of us who stood up for him because of it. Bad, bad decision.

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  15. kingairpilotComment by kingairpilot
    March 19, 2014 @ 2:24 pm

    To beowolf32;

    Wrong to equate homosexuality with pedophelia.

    Just as there are many straight priests, some homosexual, a few pedophiles. Most pedophiles are not homosexual, the male priests apparently preferring young boys.

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  16. thgdriverComment by thgdriver
    March 19, 2014 @ 2:48 pm

    He is right when he states that “if you don’t learn from your mistakes your a fool”. I’ll take it a step further and add “if you don’t learn from “all” the mistakes made by anybody you are doomed to repeat them. That said, if he is rethinking his decision he would be better off not to after what has transpired in the past. A lot of folks backed him up and will feel betrayed.

    I tend to do business with folks whose beliefs parallel my own. I think most folks do the same thing. Most of the time I don’t know but when I do, I always support them.

    If the bakery down the road (for instance) hangs out a sign stating they support gay whatever, or I find out, I personally will not do business with them.

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  17. kattekerComment by katteker
    March 19, 2014 @ 4:57 pm

    His business was blessed by his personal beliefs, by GOD’s support. Can one belief,by leaving God’s commandments on the back-burner to save his skin? If Lot had stayed in Sodom, to save his farm, he would have lost his life. God dragged them out of Sodom to prevent further association with perversion! He lost everything but his soul! Leaving Sodom and keeping your business in it, declares plainly that Cathy made a mistake! So did the rich young ruler. Job made no mistake, not knowing it was Satan’s trial, but the lesson for every christian God clearly displays! Count the costs, prosperity depends not on our scheming but on the Lord’s PROVIDENCE!
    Let the Lord rule in your heart and business! Obey, for HE knows what is best for his children!

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  18. kingairpilotComment by kingairpilot
    March 19, 2014 @ 6:55 pm

    katteker writes “Job made no mistake, not knowing it was Satan’s trial, but the lesson for every christian God clearly displays”

    You implying that Job was a Christian?

    I am confused about your point and how it relates to the subject.

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  19. braines57Comment by braines57
    March 20, 2014 @ 1:56 pm

    I have and will continue to support Chick-fil-A, in part because they have a great product with terrific service, but also because the CEO wasn’t afraid to stand up for what he believes in, which are the same beliefs that this nation was founded upon. Those that don’t like the idea that this nation was founded upon Judeo-Christian beliefs are more than welcome to go somewhere else. I’m sure Komrad Putin would welcome them with open arms – he has plenty of latrines that need cleaning. In the meantime, I think what Mr. Cathey is trying to say is that he never meant for his own personal beliefs to become a national refereandum. However, what I think he is ignoring is that God uses the person who says “here I am Lord, send me” and that Mr. Cathey happened to be in the right place at the right time for God to use him. I think many Christians around the country welcomed the opportunity that his stance provided for us to “protest” for our beliefs, since the other side tries to keep that type of action for themselves. Personally, I believe we will see more and more of these types of actions by conservative Christians as Osama and his minions seek to dismantle and abolish the very freedoms upon which this country was founded.

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  20. Antiquityart.comComment by Antiquityart.com
    March 20, 2014 @ 2:59 pm

    Well, I doubt the gay lobby will forgive and forget. And I imagine those who supported his decision with their appetites and purchases, at some of them, will curtail their enthusiasm? I’d say go on ahead; cross the river on the horse you started with.

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