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Printer's invitation ban offends gay couple

13 March 2015

iSTOCK

THE actions of conservative Christians in goods and services discrimination cases is causing harm to the reputation of Christians among the rest of society, Dr Richard O'Leary, who chairs the Church of Ireland pro-gay group Changing Attitude Ireland, says.

His remarks at the weekend follow the refusal of a printing company in Drogheda, Co. Louth, to produce civil partnership invitations for a gay couple.

Jonathan Brennan and his partner John Kierans are entering into a civil partnership in August, but when Mr Brennan asked Beulah Print to provide the invitations, the company refused.

Mr Brennan said that he was a Roman Catholic with faith, and was deeply hurt by the decision. He said that a representative of the firm told him that if the company was asked to print an image of a naked woman, it would also refuse. "How offensive that they are linking a wedding invitation to a pornographic image. I couldn't get over it," Mr Brennan said.

In a statement, a company spokesman for Beulah Print said: "We at Beulah Print are Bible-believing Christians who are committed to standing by our conscience and God's word."

The local Labour TD (MP) deputy Ged Nash, a first cousin of Mr Kierans, said that the treatment of the couple was both offensive and unacceptable. "As family members, I love them both dearly, and I can see how much they love one another. We are all looking forward to John and Jonathan's wedding, and this won't mar their preparations in any way."

Commenting on the case, Dr O'Leary said that he and many other people of faith were disappointed that other Christians were citing their Christian beliefs as a reason for not serving gay customers. "Conservative Christians are not invoking their Christian conscience against any other group except against the gay minority."

Dr O'Leary said that heterosexuals should not be indifferent to the fate of their gay fellow citizens. "They could be next. What if a Bible-believing Christian printer does not agree with mixed Protestant-Catholic marriage? Should he be allowed to refuse the business of a mixed-faith couple?"

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