Coca-Cola and Deloitte call for same-sex marriage to be legalised in Northern Ireland

Companies said extending equal rights to all will make attracting and retaining talent easier

Caitlin Morrison
Tuesday 11 September 2018 13:35 BST
Arlene Foster on gay marriage: "I believe in union between a man and a woman"

Business leaders from international companies including Coca-Cola, Citi and Deloitte have called for gay marriage to be legalised in Northern Ireland.

Bank of Ireland, BT and IBM are also among the firms that have signed an open letter in support of same-sex marriage, which states: “As employers we encourage and welcome diversity and inclusion in our workforce and recognise the rights of our lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender employees to be themselves and to live and work, free from discrimination, prejudice or exclusion.”

The letter continues: “A diverse, outward-looking and inclusive society is essential to create a vibrant and competitive economy and a prosperous future for Northern Ireland. To achieve that goal, we believe our people should have equal access to the same rights, entitlements, responsibilities and freedoms enjoyed elsewhere in the United Kingdom.”

The companies also said that extending equal marriage to Northern Ireland would be an aid to attracting and retaining talent in the region.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where same-sex marriage is not legal. The Republic of Ireland voted to allow equal marriage in a referendum in 2015, which saw the pro-legalisation yes campaign win a landslide victory.

Leigh Meyer, managing director of Citi Belfast, one of the signatories of the letter, said: “Marriage equality is an important right that we need to secure for all in Northern Ireland. As one of the largest employers in Northern Ireland we want to make our company as attractive as possible to every single part of the population, to give people a reason to want to work for us and to work with us.”

Sandra Wright, Ulster Bank’s senior HR manager, said: “At Ulster Bank, we pride ourselves in being a truly inclusive and diverse organisation for and colleagues and customers.

“We want to do what we can to ensure our customers, colleagues and the LGBTQ+ community in Northern Ireland have the same rights extended to them as the rest of the UK and Ireland.”

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