A wedding stationer who refused to serve a gay couple should be prosecuted and fined, the National Secular Society had said.

Jill Wilson, who runs Just For You Invitations, based in Lancashire, said she could not offer her services to Gary O’Reilly and his fiancé, because she is a Jehovah’s Witness.

The couple have now chosen a different company to produce invitations for their wedding.

Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, believes the business should be prosecuted for breaking the Equality Act 2010.

“Being denied goods and services like this is humiliating and renders gay people second class citizens,” Mr Sanderson told PinkNews.co.uk.

“Business people who put their religion first might as well have a notice on the door saying – ‘Open to everyone except homosexuals’.

“We can’t allow an apartheid situation to be created where religious people think it is OK to tell LGBT people that they’re not acceptable as customers.”

Mr Sanderson continued: “We could all claim conscientious objection to things we don’t like, but it shouldn’t mean we can take other people’s rights away on a whim.

“I hope these Jehovah’s Witnesses are prosecuted and that they are made to pay.

“And I do hope that gay people in future will check if there is any religious problem with the provision of services before they book so that they can spare themselves the embarrassment.

“But they do need to make a fuss about it.”

He concluded: “The religious zealots need to be called out and shamed. Hitting them hard in the balance sheet is the best weapon we have against them, so we should encourage others to boycott them, too.”

Gay rights charity Stonewall also criticised Ms Wilson, who refused to comment to PinkNews.

Stonewall’s Media Manager Richard Lane said: “The business may be called ‘Just For You Invitations’, but the law is absolutely clear that it cannot be just for straight people. Not only is it unlawful it just makes bad business sense too.”

The Equality Act 2010 states that it’s illegal to refuse to provide goods and services based upon a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) states anyone who thinks that they have been discriminated against unlawfully because of their sexual orientation should take steps to enforce their rights.

A DCMS spokesperson said: “A first step would be to make contact with someone who can give them advice in an individual case, such as the Equality and Advisory Support Service, and that’s what our advice would be to anyone who thinks they have been discriminated against.”