Wall Street executives stressed the importance of equal rights for gays and lesbians in the workplace during the “Out on the Street” LGBT Leadership Conference Wednesday and insisted that discriminatory laws undermined recruitment. “[Same-sex marriage] was important for our recruiting, for being able to move people around the world, for a number of business reasons, and then of course, last but not least, how could you not be on the side of what to me seems like a basic civil rights movement?” Lloyd C. Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs Group explained. He added that the company’s inclusive policy has come at a cost:
“It’s not without a price,” Blankfein reportedly told a group of Wall Street gay activists, referring to the investment bank’s embrace of same-sex marriage. “There was some adverse reaction by someone … They didn’t want to continue a relationship that they had with us in money management.”
Blankfein did not name the client but reportedly told the group, “if you heard the name it wouldn’t surprise you.”
Other executives generally agreed with Blankfein’s tone. “We gear our whole diversity and inclusion efforts so that you can come in, be yourself and be successful,” Bank of America CEO Brian T. Moynihan added. “You can come in, be yourself, be successful, be all you want to be,” he said.
Earlier this year, the Human Rights Campaign stirred controversy and spared controversy for awarding Goldman Sachs with its 2011 Workplace Equality Innovation Award.