Belfast Telegraph

Sainsbury's proud to fly Pride colours in Northern Ireland after Jim Allister claims Christians 'isolated'

Jim Allister has hit out at one company's Pride support.
Jim Allister has hit out at one company's Pride support.
Jonathan Bell

By Jonathan Bell

Retailer Sainsbury's said it was proud to wear the Pride colours after TUV leader Jim Allister hit out claiming a banner at one of its Northern Ireland stores "isolates Christians".

The supermarket displays a banner outside its Ballymena store stating it is proud to support the LGBT+ community.

It defended the banner saying it wanted to be "the most inclusive retailer where people love to shop and work".

In a letter to the retailer and reported in this week's Ballymena Guardian and seen by the Belfast Telegraph, North Antrim MLA Allister said it caused "hurt and offence" to many who "hold to a Biblical view on these matters".

"They rightly see it as an 'in your face’ endorsement of a lifestyle and political demands which conflict with their beliefs and consciences," he wrote.

Mr Allister said he had been contacted by "dismayed" constituents about the matter and he himself was "disappointed Sainsbury's has seen fit to enter the political arena by publicly promoting and embracing the cause of LGBT+ campaigners".

He said the banner demonstrated support for same-sex marriage as well as "repudiating the legitimate opposition to such and offending those who hold to traditional marriage, including any such employees, who now have an alien alignment foisted upon them".

"Maybe Sainsbury’s has decided it doesn’t want or need the custom of anyone so offended," he added.

June is Pride month and as well as commercial organisations a number of Westminster government bodies have re-styled their logos to incorporate the rainbow colours to show their support.

In its response to Mr Allister the supermarket said it welcomed all members of the community into its stores and celebrated a range of events - from Christmas to Diwali, Ramadan, Purple Tuesday for disability awareness and Pride.

The LGBT support banner at Sainsbury's in Ballymena.
The LGBT support banner at Sainsbury's in Ballymena.

"We are proud to support the LGBT community and Pride and are committed to continuing to do so."

An Asda spokesperson confirmed that t he store were selling a range of Pride t-shirts for children and adults that were available online and in a number of Belfast stores.

The chain is donating a minimum 20% of the proceeds of each t-shirt sold to the charity Diversity Role Models which supports LGBT education in schools.

Marks & Spencer in Northern Ireland is also planning a number of measures in support of Pride.

A group of colleagues are taking part in the Belfast Pride parade on August 3, while a window display in the M&S store in Belfast's Donegall Place will launch on July 26.

The group are also planning to launch a LGBT sandwich containing Lettuce, Guacamole, Bacon and Tomato. The £3 sandwich will come in a rainbow box and will be sold throughout the summer.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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