Qantas boss tops LGBT executive list as Australia votes on same-sex marriage

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The chief executive of Australian carrier Qantas has topped a list of the top 100 LGBT executives - as the country is balloted for its views on legalising same-sex marriage.

Irish-born Australian Alan Joyce joined the airline in 2000 and has been described as a "passionate advocate for LGBT+ rights" in the LGBT Executives list compiled by the Financial Times and networking group OUTstanding.

Also on the list is Stacey Friedman, general counsel at JP Morgan Chase, and Jim Fitterling, the chief operating officer for material sciences at chemical company DowDuPont.

Mr Joyce, 51, has been a vocal supporter of the campaign to legalise same-sex marriage in Australia - with the result of the ballot expected on November 15.

He was on the receiving end of a pie protest in May by a 67-year-old, who said Qantas and other companies that support marriage equality are guilty of "corporate bullying aimed at social engineering".

In response, Mr Joyce said: "Qantas has always spoken up on gender issues, on LGBTI issues, on indigenous issues, and we will continue to do so and no attempt at bullying us into suppressing our voice will work."

Speaking about the referendum, he told the BBC: "As an openly gay man and being the leader of this organisation and a high-profile business leader in Australia, I felt it was very important that I led by example and was out there promoting the case."

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His citation on the OUTstanding list said: "He has ... taken a very public stance in campaigning in favour of marriage equality as a fundamental human rights issue.

"This has attracted a range of reactions and sparked a broader debate about the role of business when it comes to social issues.

"His involvement has also resulted in a great deal of international media coverage, providing an even bigger platform to the fight for diversity and equality."