A list of respected companies have added their signatures to a letter organized by the campaign group Love Equality to push for equal marriage in Northern Ireland. Businesses such as Santander, Coca Cola, BT and Deloitte have weighed in to push for action on the current political stalemate.
While calls for fairness and decency seems to be falling on deaf ears, the #Businesses4Equality letter is reminding the DUP and the UK government that their inaction could have a direct impact on business and industry.
It reads “We the undersigned write to express our support for the extension of equal marriage in Northern Ireland. 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.”
It continues: “A diverse, outward looking and inclusive society is essential to create a vibrant and competitive economy for Northern Ireland. To achieve that goal we believe our people should have equal access to the same rights enjoyed elsewhere in the United Kingdom. As employers, striving to attract the best talent to Northern Ireland and to retain the skilled employees we already have, extending equal civil marriage makes sense to us.
Equality contributes to an environment of creativity and excellence where our LGBT staff feel able to bring their whole selves to the workplace and where their relationships will be respected.”
John O’Doherty of Love Equality said: “While many of the arguments for equal marriage are based on rights and equality, there is also an important economic argument. Businesses and employers across Northern Ireland are in competition for excellence with other employers across the UK and Ireland. However, without full legal recognition of same-sex marriages, retaining and attracting talent can be difficult.”
He concluded: “Responsibility for marriage equality legislation now sits squarely with the UK Government. How much longer do Ministers think LGBT+ people in Northern Ireland should have to wait to be treated equally?”
With the support of an overwhelming percentage of the Northern Irish populace and the 27 separate businesses listed, including two of Coca Cola, we can only hope movement toward positive change is in the offing.
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