Ireland’s Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, joined tech business leaders at a press conference in Dublin this morning to speak out in support of equal marriage.
Ireland will hold a referendum on same-sex marriage on 22 May.
Kenny has previously said that his government supports same-sex marriage, but this morning’s conference was designed to highlight the fact that the corporate world also believes it to be the right thing to do.
‘As a government, we have worked hard to restore Ireland’s international reputation as a great place to do business,’ said Kenny, An Taoiseach (the equivalent of Prime Minister).
‘Ireland’s welcoming reputation should extend to being an open, tolerant and compassionate home for our gay and lesbian workers. Civil marriage equality will further promote Ireland as a leading place to work and do business.’
‘It’s a rare thing indeed that we get a chance to go and vote on something that is as unquantifiable and yet as transformative as love, and I hope that we will say ‘yes’ very strongly.’
‘Yes for equal marriage, yes for business, yes for Ireland.’
Joining Kenny at the event – which was organized by LGBT advocacy group GLEN – were Twitter Ireland’s Managing Director, Stephen McIntyre, Ann O’Dea, CEO Silicon Republic, among others, and an audience of around 150 representatives from the business world.
‘Innovation is critical to the success of the Tech industry, an industry which is so vital to the Irish economy,’ said O’Dea. ‘The Tech Industry understands the strong link between innovation and diversity and has long supported marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples.’
‘Twitter is supporting a Yes vote because of our company’s commitment to inclusion and the strong business case for marriage equality,’ said McIntyre. ‘We encourage other companies to do likewise.’
The business community is increasingly finding the confidence to speak out in support of LGBT issues and against inequality. Last month, 379 businesses in the US – including Twitter – signed a friend-of-the-court brief to the US Supreme Court urging it to rule in favor of same-sex marriage across the US.
Last week, more than 100 tech leaders in the US – including CEOs at Twitter, Microsoft and eBay – signed a statement demanding federal LGBT non-discrimination protections.
Kenny leads Ireland’s Fine Gael party – which has traditionally been seen as conservative. Up until last year, Kenny had avoided stating a position on same-sex marriage but has been more vocal in his support in the run-up to the forthcoming referendum.
Last December, Kenny was photographed visiting a Dublin gay venue. Pantibar was hosting the Fine Gael LGBT organization’s Christmas party and Kenny dropped in as an ally to show support. It’s believed he is the first, serving Taoiseach to visit a gay bar.
You can watch a video of highlight’s from today’s Dublin event below: