The leader of the TUV has described the introduction of a gay-themed postal delivery lorry to Northern Ireland as just the latest example of a firm hitching its brand to a “political bandwagon”.
Jim Allister, MLA for North Antrim, was speaking after the Royal Mail unveiled a new rainbow-coloured livery for one of its lorries.
The rainbow colours have become the de facto symbol of gay rights campaigners worldwide.
Royal Mail – which was controversially privatised in 2013, and is now a public limited company – said it had made the move to “support colleagues and the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] community in Northern Ireland”.
The lorry is to be based in the Belfast area.
Royal Mail said that it will operate over the summer.
It also said there is a similar truck operating in England.
Mr Allister said the company is “scrambling to join the fashionable fad of promoting the LGBT cause and agenda which, of course, includes same sex marriage, which is objectionable to many in Northern Ireland, as well as being unlawful”.
Last year, during the main gay pride march in Belfast city centre in August, uniformed members of the PSNI were on parade, alongside members of An Garda Siochana.
Mr Allister added: “Like the PSNI last year, it seems Royal Mail is anxious to be part of a political bandwagon with defined political objectives. I do not think that is a proper course for Royal Mail.”
In a statement explaining its move, Royal Mail said: “We are proud to have such a diverse workforce, reflecting the communities we serve.
“We are delighted to support LGBT colleagues and bring the rainbow truck to Northern Ireland to help us deliver the mail in a unique way.”
It also said the truck “is a symbol of Royal Mail’s belief that every employee should be free to be themselves”.
Avoiding discrimination against employees due to sexual orientation is already a mandatory legal requirement under the 2010 Equality Act.
Royal Mail is just the latest company to adopt trappings associated with gay pride.
Adverts for Android, the operating system used in many mobile phones, have featured semi-nude cartoon characters at a gay carnival, whilst a current wave of commercials for the vodka company Smirnoff likewise centre on LGBT themes.
In addition, the speaker of the House of Commons has had the gay pride rainbow flag raised at Parliament, and the Northern Ireland Office displayed it at its Stormont HQ.