DUP MLA Jim Wells warns NI firms who back gay marriage

A DUP MLA has said he will consider taking his custom elsewhere, after some of the biggest companies operating in Northern Ireland backed the campaign to have same-sex marriage introduced here.
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Northern Ireland is the only part of the British Isles where same-sex marriage is prohibited.

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Mr Wells’ party have been consistently opposed to a change in the laws, despite calls from other parties and campaigners.

DUP MLA Jim Wells. 
Photograph by Declan Roughan.DUP MLA Jim Wells. 
Photograph by Declan Roughan.
DUP MLA Jim Wells. Photograph by Declan Roughan.

The South Down MLA spoke to the News Letter yesterday after several of Northern Ireland’s major employers — including Citi, PwC, Deloitte, BT, Allstate, Coca-Cola, Liberty IT, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank — signed a ‘Businesses for Love Equality’ open letter calling for a change to the laws here.

“There will be many staff at those companies who are either neutral towards gay marriage or opposed to it because of their religious beliefs,” Mr Wells said.

“And there would be many customers who are the same. Certainly, I will be reviewing my custom with some of those organisations as a result of what I read this morning.

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“I will be opting, where there is a choice, for a company that does not support gay marriage rather than some of those.”

He continued: “This is a controversial, political issue. This is not something that individual companies should be involved in, any more than they should be involved in, say, the right to fly the Union flag or to march tradiional routes.

“These issues are equally controversial and there is divergent opinion. Companies should not be taking political stances which should be before the Northern Ireland Assembly, which require debate and which require a vote if there is to be any change — which I hope there never is.”