The technology chief of Bank of America has strongly denounced the proposed measure to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman in North Carolina, saying it would make it harder for companies to attract talent to the state.
The proposed referendum, called Amendment One, would introduce a constitutional ban on marriage between same-sex couples, furthering the state law that already bans all councils from issuing marriage licences to gay couples.
Catherine Bessant, global techology and operations executive, posted a video on YouTube, wherein she said that this particular amendment “has the potential to have a disastrous effect on our ability to attract talent and keep talent in the state of North Carolina.”
Although a spokesperson for the Bank said that this was not the view of the whole organisation, she said that individual bankers were free to give their voice to political causes. Ms Bessant’s views have been widely reported in the state journals and business magazines in the US.
North Carolina is not alone in pressing the one man, one woman measure through the ballot this May. Minnesota is set to follow in November, while Maine will decide whether to extend the marriage rights to homosexuals. Nor is Bank of America the only business group to stick its head out of the mud. John Mack, a former chairman at Morgan Stanley, and Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, have both defended extending the definition of marriage to include sexual minorities.
Given that every other state in the Deep Red South has constitutional bans restricting marriage to heterosexuals, observers are keen to see if North Carolina, considered something of an outsider in being less extremist in its conservatism, will reject the anti-gay measure, or will join its neighbours.