The editor of a Northern Ireland-based LGBT magazine is seeking legal advice after he was refused a quote by a printer, who said he was “not comfortable” being associated with the magazine’s target audience.
He had approached a printer, Nick Williamson, after seeing his services advertised on Gumtree, but Mr Williamson replied that he was “unable” to give Mr Toner a quote.
When pressed for clarification he said: “There are some types of work I do not feel comfortable taking on and this is definitely one them.
“To work alongside (even printing for) the LGBT [community] would be in contradiction to my own faith and so I will have to let this quote slide.”
Mr Toner said he was “hurt and annoyed” by Mr Williamson’s reply.
“Once he came back and was open about the reasons for refusing, I was shocked about how blatant he was. I felt hurt and annoyed and confused. Why? How could anybody refuse a service just for that one reason? It was embarrassing too – it’s shaming,” he said.
He said he had contacted a lawyer specialising in LGBT rights and had alerted Northern Ireland’s Equality Commission.
“Part of the reason we started this magazine in the first place was in order to fight homophobia and to bring it to people’s attention,” he said. “Things have improved for gay people in Northern Ireland in the last five or six years but there’s still a long way to go.”
The Equality Act 2010 prohibits the refusal to provide goods and services based upon a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity.
Last week two Christian B&B owners who turned a gay couple away from their business said they have managed to get round the Equality Act by changing the status of their guesthouse to a not-for-profit company.
It emerged earlier that Amnesty International and gay rights groups in Northern Ireland had warned that unless the government brings itself in line with the rest of the UK on same-sex marriage it could face legal action.