Goldman CEO: support for gay rights "not without price"

Wed May 2, 2012 6:55pm EDT
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By Katya Wachtel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein said on Wednesday his recent very public support for gay rights had cost the investment bank at least one client.

At an event discussing Wall Street's role in pushing for greater lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality across corporate America, Blankfein said his stance on the matter was "not without price."

Blankfein said there had been some "adverse reaction" on at least one occasion, where a money management client "did not want to continue a relationship" with Goldman in the wake of his advocacy.

"I won't say the name of the client, but if you heard the name, it wouldn't surprise you," he added.

Blankfein joined hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer at an LGBT Leadership Summit for the financial community called "Out on the Street," which was held at Bank of America's Manhattan offices.

Blankfein's series of rare public appearances comes weeks after the company installed a new global head of corporate communications to oversee its public relations effort. Richard "Jake" Siewert, a former aide to Timothy Geithner, officially succeeded Goldman's silver-tongued, veteran spokesman, Lucas van Praag in March.

In the past year, Blankfein has become a more visible and vocal supporter of same-sex marriage. Along with other prominent Wall Street executives, he signed an open letter to New York state legislators last year urging them to legalize gay marriage. Earlier this year, Blankfein accepted the role of corporate spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay-rights advocacy group.

Wednesday's event brought together Blankfein and Singer, two of Wall Street's most high-profile supporters of same-sex marriage. Both men helped push legislators in Albany to legalize gay marriage in New York State last year.   Continued...

Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein is sworn in before testifing at Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Investigations Subcommittee hearing on "Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: The Role of Investment Banks" on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 27, 2010. REUTERS/Jim Young