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Firm fined for refusing to print gay man’s invites

An Irish print and design firm has been ordered to pay €2,500 to a gay man for refusing to print invites to the man’s civil partnership ceremony.

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Ireland voted in favour of same-sex marriage in 2015

The landmark ruling comes from the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) which found that Beulah Print and Design had discriminated against Jonathon Brennan for his sexual orientation when refusing to print the invites.

Brennan had contacted Beulah in March 2015 for the printing of invites to his upcoming civil partnership ceremony to his long-term partner John Kierans. Brennan said in the hearing that he had done business with the print firm for four years prior to the incident for his hairdressing salon and had no problems.

Telling the hearing he was “shocked and embarrassed” when Beulah refused to print the invites, the co-owner and his business partner told Brennan that they could not fulfil his request because they were Bible-believing Christians that did not believe in homosexuality and did not support gay marriage.

The print firm, which explicitly outlines on its website the religious beliefs of the owners, said it refused the print job because of the content of the work, and not because of Brennan himself.

We have turned down many jobs over the years solely because they were in clear opposition to our Christian faith

Adjudication officer Orla Jones ordered Beulah to pay Brennan €2,500 for the discrimination under Section 3 of the Equal Status Act. Jones found that the firm had refused Brennan a service that was available to heterosexual customers and the reason he was refused the service was because he is a gay man.

Beulah rejected the ruling of the WRC, stating: “We simply acted in accordance with the light of our own consciences as followers of Christ. We are absolutely clear, and have maintained from the outset, that we did not discriminate against our customer in turning down the designing and printing of a same-sex wedding invitation.

“We have turned down many jobs over the years solely because they were in clear opposition to our Christian faith. We are not against people who choose to practice homosexuality, but as Bible-believing Christians, we cannot in good conscience go along with printing invitations for same-sex unions.

“For us, designing and printing invitations to such events would be the lending of our approval and even the promotion of the content and is, therefore, something we could never do.”

Should personal views obstruct the types of work your business agrees to take on? Email summer@linkpublishing.co.uk or follow us on Twitter to have your say.

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