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Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy Wants to Stick to Serving Chicken, Not Serving Up Opinions on Gay Marriage

( [email protected] ) Mar 21, 2014 12:24 PM EDT
Dan Cathy recently told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that it was a mistake to drag the chain's name into the publicly contested issue two years ago when he made controversy-stirring comments about the Supreme Court's rulings.
Chick-fil-a

Dan Cathy wants Chick-fil-A out of the gay marriage debate.

He recently told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that it was a mistake to drag the chain's name into the publicly contested issue two years ago when he made controversy-stirring comments about the Supreme Court's rulings.

He would like to shed some of the associations that go along with that position and concentrate on serving up good food, he said.

"Probably the elements that were stressful for me most is from our internal staff and from operators and how this may be affecting them," he 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."

Taking responsibility for all in his charge, not just for those in places that support his company's position.

However, he tried to make it clear that the Biblical beliefs the company was founded on have not changed.

"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." Cathy said he prayed about the issue, and took wise counsel from many people, including Shane Windmeyer, a gay rights activist, according to the interview.

Cathy took a look at the market, too.

He recognized that consumers, "want to do business with brands that they can interface with, that they can relate with," he said.  

He told the paper that the company does not discriminate against employees or customers based on sexual orientation.

"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," Cathy said.

He called his statements and then what occurred afterwards a learning experience.  Although he now sees error in some of the choices he made, he hopes to learn from them.  He said that didn't meant the Christian beliefs his father Truett Cathy built the business on were changing.  

"You learn from those mistakes." he said. "If not, you're just a fool. I'm thankful that I lived through it and I learned a lot from it."

Founded in 1946, Chick-fil-A has over 1,700 restaurants in 38 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.