Sainsbury’s ‘proud to support’ LGBT community after Jim Allister claims banner at Ballymena store is causing ‘great hurt’ to many Christians

The banner outside the Sainsbury's store in Ballymena.

SAINSBURY’S say they are ‘proud to support’ the LGBT community after claims by TUV leader Jim Allister that a banner at the retail giant’s Ballymena store is causing ‘great hurt’ to many Christians.

The supermarket has been displaying a banner outside its store at Larne Road Link which says: ‘We proudly support the LGBT+ community’.

The retailer defended the banner saying it wanted to be “the most inclusive retailer where people love to shop and work”.

In a letter to Sainsbury’s and reported in this week’s Ballymena Guardian, North Antrim MLA Jim Allister said the banner “caused great hurt and offence to many in the Christian community who hold to a Biblical view on these matters”.

The correspondence added: “They rightly see it as an ‘in your face’ endorsement of a lifestyle and political demands which conflict with their beliefs and consciences.”

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 wrote: “Given the core demand of the LGBT+ community is the political demand for a legal change in the definition of marriage, you are not only overtly endorsing that campaign but consciously 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”.

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

Responding to Mr Allister, Sainsbury’s said in a statement: “At Sainsbury’s our aim is to be the most inclusive retailer where people love to shop and work.

“We welcome all members from any community to our stores and celebrate a range of events which help us to demonstrate this – from Christmas, Diwali, Ramadan to Purple Tuesday for disability awareness and Pride.

“Sainsbury’s is proud to support the LGBT community and Pride and is committed to continuing to do so,” a spokesperson added.

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