Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy now wishes he hadn't dragged his fast food restaurant chain into the debate over gay marriage even though he remains opposed to it.
'Every leader goes through different phases of maturity, growth and development and it helps by (recognizing) the mistakes that you make,' Cathy says in an interview with the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
He adds: '... 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..'
What Cathy now admits was a mistake remarking in an interview in summer of 2012 that he was 'guilty as charged' when asked about his religious-based opposition to gay marriage.
This came after it was made public that the charitable arm of the privately-owned chain had contributed money to anti-gay causes.
While gay marriage supporters boycotted the chain, others flocked to it to show their support for the Cathy's views including former US Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
Then in June 2013, on the day the US Supreme Court gutted key provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act and allowed gay marriages to resume in California, Cathy sent out this tweet: 'Sad day for our nation. Founding fathers would be ashamed of our gen. to abandon wisdom of the ages re: cornerstone of strong societies.'
His tweet was later deleted.
Cathy says he now regrets the effect his activism had on staff and restaurant operators and that the goal now is to 'keep the whole of the organization in mind and it has to take precedence over the personal expression and opinion on social issues.'
Not that he had changed his mind on gay marriage.
'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 says.
'I know others feel very different from that and I respect their opinion and I hope that they would be respectful of mine.'