David Jones CEO hailed for marriage support
The chief executive of one of the country’s retailing giants has today called upon federal MPs to support changes to the law that would allow for same-sex marriage, with David Jones CEO Paul Zahra making the comments ahead of this afternoon’s Pride in Diversity Business Luncheon and Awards honouring corporations with inclusive policies.
Zahra’s comments have been readily praised by employees of the retailer since appearing in The Australian Financial Review earlier today.
“I think the current ban on same-sex marriage is sending a message that it’s OK to treat gay people differently,” Zahra told the Fairfax newspaper.
“We value all of our staff and customers and treat them all equally and we’d like to see the federal government do the same thing and change the legislation.”
David Jones employee and marriage equality advocate Nathan Thomas told SX Zahra’s public comments matched the supportive culture to be found across the retailer.
“I have been a Finance Manager at David Jones for over six years now and I can honestly say that the company has a great culture of supporting diversity.
“After reading the article I immediately sent an email to our CEO and thanked him for his public support,” Thomas said.
“It made me so proud of my employer.”
The 36-year-old accountant said statements like Zahra’s had the potential to create change and better policies encouraging diversity across the corporate world.
“I would like to see more companies follow the leadership of David Jones and our CEO, Paul Zahra, and come out in support of marriage equality,” Thomas told SX.
“It makes them a much more attractive employer of choice for people from diverse backgrounds, and it also lets us know whether we are spending our money with a company that accepts us as equal citizens.”
With a vote expected on a marriage equality bill in Federal Parliament later this year, Thomas said statements like Zahra’s were a sure sign of accelerating support within the wider community for same-sex marriage laws.
“Obama gets it, David Jones gets it, and my family gets it. In fact a majority of Australians get it too,” Thomas said.
“Unfortunately Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott just don’t get it.”