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UK: Printer claims working with LGBT magazine would contradict his faith

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  1. My understanding of the law is that this wouldn’t be illegal.

    He’s entitled to decline to offer a quote, and a business-to-business relationship. Because a company can’t be gay, it isn’t the same as refusing to serve a person on the grounds of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, which is illegal.

    The printer probably just fancies making a name for himself, though he’ll be sorely disappointed.

    1. I think a business owner should be free to chose whom he serves – and we should freely share the information so that we can choose whether or not to patronize his shop. I prefer not to give my hard earned money to businesses or people who support the notion that someone is second class – or less – because of race, gender, creed or sexual orientation.

      1. I respectfully disagree that businesses should be able to refuse service to individuals on any of those grounds. To permit them to do as they please would lead to “No blacks, no Irish, no gays, no dogs” signs once again.

        A limited company is a legal entity created for the purpose of doing business. It cannot be of any colour, gender or sexual orientation. If the printer refused to do business with an individual person employed by that business, it would rightly be illegal. But whatever its line of business may be, it isn’t illegal under this law to refuse to trade with any company. A complainant would have to prove that a gay business was being treated less favourably than a straight one. As companies can’t have a sexual orientation, this would be impossible.

        1. Oh Keith, back again! Bless – you just can’t keep away, can you? And back to your ‘real’ name again after so long: that must have been hard for you! I’d say it was good to see you back but, unlike you, I’m not a liar.

        2. Hey folks! They’ve let Keith out again! Enjoy it whole you can. The white van will be turning up any day now. Shame really, ‘he’s’ almost as good as our old and much-missed Jean. Thanks Keith. Keep it coming. Just DIE laughing here in the office, we do!

        3. Robert in S. Kensington 30 Mar 2013, 3:02pm

          And you would know about being a deviant. I suspect that’s just what you are.

        4. thelostdot 30 Mar 2013, 3:53pm

          I was going to say to Keith that you do know your attitude to homosexuality makes YOU a deviant Keith!

        5. Robert in S. Kensington 30 Mar 2013, 4:13pm

          You’re an idiot. Williamson said:..”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.”

          It’s about religion in the public sector, a business that is subject to the equalities law of the land like every other. His commercial business is not a place of worship.

        6. Keith probably prints these out and wanks over them. Keep that image before you reply

        7. ...Paddyswurds 30 Mar 2013, 6:03pm

          Please do not feed the troll….

  2. It seems like there is a very thin line between what is and isn’t legal here. If Nick Williamson refused to print material for a Black or Asian event, stating racism as his reason, would this be legal? It would seem so judging by the arguments above.

    1. Only if his racism was also his religion. If you wave a religion flag you get away with anything.

      And it says in the bible “One day verily you will go forth and invent printing, and I say to you now, 2000 years in advance, it will be sinful to print anything gay. Oh, and you will have an international space station as well”

      1. While people still get away with far too much by citing religion, there have been an impressive number of cases where it was made clear that religion did not trump LGBT rights. In this case, it looks as if the LGBT rights should win. It would be different if it were an internal church matter, which is why synagogues and mosques are allowed gender-segregated seating. Personally I think that religion shouldn’t be allowed a get-out clause for any of this, but I realise that it would be incredibly difficult to implement.

  3. Yes because, after all, Jesus of Nazareth was so clear about not providing printing services to gay people, wasn’t he?

    1. ...Paddyswurds 30 Mar 2013, 6:15pm

      The Printing Press wasn’t invented until 1450 so printing services would not have been available to anyone in Palestine oooo Common Era.

      1. SocialistSue 31 Mar 2013, 12:18am

        No shit Sherlock

        1. Joseph oz 1 Apr 2013, 6:32am

          Me thinks that someone here doesn’t know the meaning of, irony…!

  4. Hello PN. The word you want is RELIGION, not ‘faith’. Those of us who don’t believe in fairies, Santa Claus or Dragons aren’t faithless people. Stop playing the British media’s game by using this supposed, though untrue, synonym. Thanks.

    1. “Faith” is an accepted synonym for “religion”, and it’s appropriate here in that it refers to a belief system, which can be personal. As others have pointed out, it’s not as if Jesus is on record as having prohibited the printing of LGBT materials. I thought this article was about being anti-censorship? Banning accepted meanings of words doesn’t really fit that approach. Unless you would like to allow right-wing Christians from banning us from using the word “gay” the way we want to?

  5. Robert in S. Kensington 30 Mar 2013, 3:03pm

    I have o problem with Williamson as long as gay business are allowed to refuse service to a bigot of any kind, religious or not.

  6. thelostdot 30 Mar 2013, 3:51pm

    Well I have to say, it affects my faith if I have to work with nasty old bigots, but the thing is the bible says let he who is without sin cast the first stone & judge not ye lest ye be judged, so I have to put up with it! Somebody really should point that out to him.

  7. Is there something unhealthy about christians obsessiveness with homosexuality?

  8. Mr Toner may well be covered.

    The relevant law is the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006. I don’t see anything in these regulations which excludes someone acting on behalf of a business. (And it is not clear that Mr Toner was acting on behalf of a legally constituted company. He may well be a sole trader.)

    Mr Williamson allegedly stated that he would not “work alongside (even printing for) the LGBT [community]“. That statement clearly describes a reluctance to provide services to gay people – of whom Mr Toner is one. It’s no defence to say, “I won’t work with gay people, but I’ve got nothing against you personally.”

    Mr Williamson did not indicate an objection to the contents of the magazine. Had he said, “I won’t publish materials which affirm homosexual behaviour” that would have been more complicated.

    If brought to the courts, this might well succeed – if not at tribunal, then on appeal.

  9. It’s up to him, I wouldn’t print Islamic material.

  10. For the mentally ill Moral Instuctor – religious faith being a mental illness: goods and services in terms of the equalities act cannot be refused in relation to the sexual orientation of the person requiring a service. In this case it has nothing to do with gender. The content of the required printed matter, provided it is not illegal, which in this case, it was not, is not grounds for the refusal of the service. A comparable case would be the refusal of an atheist printer to print religious nonsense, such as the Bible, on the grounds, that it was offensive to his sensibilities. The fact that the Bible is religious nonsense would not be grounds for the refusal to print it.

    1. The word ‘dimwit’ certainly applies to you. You are semi-literate and your lack of command of English grammar indicates that you are uneducated. You do not know the difference between the past tense and the past participle. Finding material not to your liking is not a reason to deny the jurisdiction of the equalities act as the printer will find to his cost.

    2. Wrong again, I’m afraid: PN does not sell publishing services !

      The law states that if your offer a service then you cannot refuse to do so on the grounds of sexuality. So if you print straight porn, you cannot reject gay porn. If you run a restaurant, you cannot turn away gay couples. If you offer adoption services, you cannot refuse applications from gay couples.

      Seems clear to me, the printer has broken the law.

  11. Why come on a gay site with this barrage of shite – WE DON’T CARE ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK – FACK OFF!!

    1. Alex Smyth 4 Apr 2013, 3:09pm

      Good for Nick. Im sure if someone who was homosexual asked him to print something other than a gay magazine (eg for their own personal business) he would never have refused. On that basis he would not be discriminating against the homosexual person but refusing to be involved in being part of a magazine he deemed inappropriate because of his faith. LGBT people are all for equality and their own rights, why are you discriminating against his own right to refuse to be part of a magazine he doesn’t again with? double standards? Just because someone doesn’t conform or agree of a lifestyle that you live doesn’t mean they should be victimised like the way toner has done. Indifference of opinion is not bigotry and I would be very shocked if this went to court as he clearly has stated it is the content of the magazine he disagrees with not toner himself or his sexuality

  12. Unless the printer has sex with another man, then nothing is in contradiction to his faith – Ridiculous bigotry.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 30 Mar 2013, 6:50pm

      Well then, moron, bring it on. Criminalise deviancy. You’re going to find millions of heterosexuals engaging in deviant sexual practices. Adultery is deviant and aberrant behaviour in and of itself and always sexual. The jails won’t be large enough to accommodate all of them. Pornography, overwhelmingly heterosexual, is rife with it. Let’s not forget all those adulterous hetero men and women, some of them church-goers, some of them serial adulterers and philanderers, some of them in Parliament. A pity your mother never miscarried or better yet, aborted, useless piece of life that you are.

    2. What an ignorant, ill-bred little man! You have clearly no understanding of what is legal and illegal in matters sexual.

    3. I really pity you, carrying around so much hate in yourself. I don’t know what has happened to you to be so twisted and narrow minded but please get some professional help before you really hurt someone.

    4. It is strange that all the crimes you mention involve sex. You do seem a bit obsessed if you don’t mind me saying so. You think I am immoral even though you don’t know me, and yet you are thinking about sex the whole time and I am not.

      I am guessing you live alone and do not have many friends. There are helplines you can use though if you get really desperate.

    5. You are also repeating yourself now, three times in fact. In your next session I would let your psychotherapist know that. It could be significant.

  13. I think you’d like the blow up dildo it’s ribbed you’d probably shoot before I got it all in

    1. Alex Smyth 4 Apr 2013, 3:03pm

      Good for Nick. Im sure if someone who was homosexual asked him to print something other than a gay magazine (eg for their own personal business) he would never have refused. On that basis he would not be discriminating against the homosexual person but refusing to be involved in being part of a magazine he deemed inappropriate because of his faith. LGBT people are all for equality and their own rights, why are you discriminating against his own right to refuse to be part of a magazine he doesn’t again with? double standards? Just because someone doesn’t conform or agree of a lifestyle that you live doesn’t mean they should be victimised like the way toner has done. Indifference of opinion is not bigotry and I would be very shocked if this went to court as he clearly has stated it is the content of the magazine he disagrees with not toner himself or his sexuality

  14. Those of us who have campaigned against the British National Party over the last 15 years are indebted to printing firms who refused to produce the BNP’s propaganda. The BNP at various times had to resort to a printing company in Eastern Europe, and when they finally found a UK-based company it was an Arab-owned firm whose main business was printing Islamic literature. The BNP did eventually find a printer in Co. Durham but the last I heard was that the firm is still waiting to be paid.

    The point I am making, is that if we are to force Mr Williamson to print LGBT material despite his objections, then we have to accept that the extreme right and other equally unsavoury organisations will be granted the right to have their material printed, notwithstanding the printers’ more legitimate objections.

    It is obvious that the Belfast Pride promoters would prefer a local company. If they’re unsuccessful I am sure other printers in Britain or the Republic of Ireland would gladly do the job.

    1. Where ever there is a means to something positive there will always be a potential to use it for the negative, which is not good reason to default our power to any negative. Bigots and the mentally insane need to be taken in hand and shown what is right. Everything is permissible, but not everything is functional.

    2. I’ve been wondering about the censorship issue as well. At the moment, I’m leaning towards allowing companies to refuse to print anything which would definitely advocate a crime. Most organisations have the sense not to go that far, they get around it somehow, but the more extreme ones may not. If push comes to shove, free speech is more important than shutting up the BNP. We also have redress available in that we can complain to the Advertising Standards Authority about printed materials containing hate speech.

  15. de Villiers 1 Apr 2013, 2:17pm

    This is unlawful. One has to look at the reason why the printer has refused to print the material. It is because the material is associated with homosexuality. Whether or not it is related to the purchaser being gay or not is irrelevant – the provider has refused on the basis of the subject matter.

    The Equality Act s13 states that direct discrimination is: “A person (A) discriminates against another (B) if, because of a protected characteristic, A treats B less favourably than A treats or would treat others.”

    Here, the protected characteristic is sexuality. It is irrelevant that the purchaser is not gay – it is the purchaser’s association with homosexuality and the gay subject matter which is the reason for the less favourable treatment. The behaviour of the provider is unlawful.

    Having said that, I am surprised that the purchaser here was “hurt and upset” by the printer. If it were me then I would be merely irritated. I’m not such a victim that I always feel “hurt and upset”.

    1. de Villiers 1 Apr 2013, 2:18pm

      Sorry – hurt, annoyed and confused. I would not have been hurt or confused. I would have been annoyed or, more, irritated.

  16. Alex Smyth 4 Apr 2013, 2:58pm

    Good for Nick. Im sure if someone who was homosexual asked him to print something other than a gay magazine (eg for their own personal business) he would never have refused. On that basis he would not be discriminating against the homosexual person but refusing to be involved in being part of a magazine he deemed inappropriate because of his faith. LGBT people are all for equality and their own rights, why are you discriminating against his own right to refuse to be part of a magazine he doesn’t again with? double standards? Just because someone doesn’t conform or agree of a lifestyle that you live doesn’t mean they should be victimised like the way toner has done. Indifference of opinion is not bigotry and I would be very shocked if this went to court as he clearly has stated it is the content of the magazine he disagrees with not toner himself or his sexuality

  17. Brendan B 4 Apr 2013, 9:08pm

    Refusing a service to a person because they are gay or LBT is wrong & illegal under The 2006 Equality Act. Mr Williamson clearly stated “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.” Does faith justify refusing a service and treating someone like a second class citizen? Nick clearly stated he would not work alongside the LGBT community, he has clearly stated that this also involves printing for the LGBT community, that’s not refusal based on content that is bare faced discrimination that should most definately be challenged as peope in NI need to understand that it will no longer be tolerated. To quote the magazine’s 7th issue: The law is on our side for the first time in history &we should take full advantage. Christians treating Biblical text as though it were a buffet they can pick, choose& interpret whichever way they like to poorly justify their homophobic attitudes is now illegal.

  18. ‘hurt and annoyed’ – poor little baby boy – How old is Mr Toner? Didn’t mummy tell him some people might believe things he disagrees with. Are all gays this thin-skinned?
    No, I don’t believe you Mr Toner, you are looking for a legal action to ensure the whole of NI conforms to your worldview.
    I detect fascist tendencies here – a democracy means we have to agree to disagree. Fascism, on the other hand, enforces conformity

  19. Steven Capsuto 22 Jun 2013, 1:48pm

    I feel strongly that businesses should be allowed to refused to print *anti-*LGBT material on ethical grounds. Since a law must offer everyone equal protection, that also implies the right to refuse to print *pro-*LGBT content on similar grounds. It would be different if he had accepted the job and then changed his mind (causing the magazine to miss a distribution deadline), but that’s not what happened here.

    This is not discrimination based on the client’s sexual orientation: this printer clearly would have refused pro-LGBT material sent by a straight client, too. So I think we should back off this one. If we want the right to refuse anti-gay jobs, we should be championing this guy’s rights as well as a safeguard. Either printers can refuse work based on the subject matter or they can’t. Advocating rights that cut only in one direction makes for bad law.

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