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UK Spy Agency MI5 Named as Gay-Friendly Employer

LONDON (AP) -- Britain's domestic spy agency MI5 was named as one of the country's most gay-friendly employers Wednesday.

MI5 was ranked 62 out of 100 for being one of the best employers for lesbian, gay and bisexual staff, according to a list compiled by the equality charity Stonewall.

Ernst and Young topped the list, which is based on a confidential survey of more than 7,500 lesbian, gay and bisexual employees.

"The Security Service has worked hard in recent years to promote equality and diversity across all areas of its work," said Jonathan Evans, MI5's director general. "We are pleased to be recognized by Stonewall, but there is still more we can do."

Gay candidates weren't always welcomed into the agency in the past. Many believed their sexual preferences would leave them more vulnerable to blackmail.

Since the 2005 suicide attacks when bombers killed 52 people during London's morning rush hour, both MI5 and MI6 - Britain's foreign spy agency - have led aggressive recruiting drives for candidates from diverse ethnic and sexual backgrounds.

"Competition for a place in the Top 100 was fiercer than ever this year," Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill said.

Other employers who ranked high on the list included Britain's Home Office, Barclays and Goldman Sachs.

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