A transgender diversity consultant was left ‘distraught’ when a printers refused to make her business cards, claiming the business would discriminate against Christians.
Joanne Lockwood ordered the business cards for her business SEE Change Happen, which works with companies to advise on and promote trans equality within the workplace.
Ms Lockwood sent an email to Southampton based printer Nigel Williams after the two met at a business conference, asking whether he would print cards for her.
In response, Mr Williams sent a letter to her refusing the order, claiming that by printing the cards he would be supporting a business that would marginalise Christians.
In the letter, seen by The Sunday Times, the printer wrote: “The new model of diversity is used (or misused) to marginalise (or indeed discriminate against) Christians in their workplaces and other parts of society if they do not subscribe to it.
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“Although I’m quite sure you have no intention of marginalising Christians, it would weigh heavily upon me if through my own work I was to make pressure worse for fellow Christians.”
Ms Lockwood was “gobsmacked” by the content of the letter, as well as the effort used by Mr Williams to make his point.
She said in response: “I was not expecting a lecture. I disbelieved this could happen in 2017. I have been distraught and cried and my wife consoled me.
“I think a point of principle is at stake. He wanted to make a point to me deliberately for his own motives. I have been the victim of some discrimination.”
Campaigning group Christian Institute have defended the printer’s actions, calling the argument: “chilling and unnecessary.”
They continued in a statement: “It is a fundamental tenet of free speech and freedom of belief that people should not be forced to help promote causes flatly contrary to their own deeply held views.”
This is by no means the first story of this kind, with several bakeries refusing service to gay and lesbian couples in the last few years, with some American cases reaching the US Supreme Court.
The Trump Administration has often supported the rights of these bakers to discriminate on religious grounds and under the right to free speech.
Earlier this year, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions promised to protect the rights of business to discriminate on religious grounds.