An Irish printing company who refused to print invites to a same-sex wedding because they are “Bible-believing Christians” have been ordered to pay a fine of €2,500 to the gay man who requested them.
Jonathon Brennan asked the company to make the invitations in 2015, shortly before Ireland’s historic same-sex marriage referendum. However, the company refused, saying they “don’t believe in same sex civil partnerships and homosexuality.”
Brennan made a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), who have concluded that Beulah Print and Design discriminated against him because of his sexual orientation, according to The Irish Times.
Print company said they were ‘not against homosexuals’
In a Facebook post from 2015 – shared by Broadsheet.ie – Brennan said he had been a customer of Beulah Print for over four years when he was denied invitations to his wedding.
The company posted on Facebook at the time, where they said they were “committed to standing by our conscience and God’s word.”
The statement added that they were “not against homosexuals” but said “we do not support same sex marriage, which printing wedding invitations would do.”
In evidence given to the WRC, Brennan said he was “shocked and embarrassed” when he was refused the invitations – particularly as he had previously done business with them through his salon.
“We simply acted in accordance with the light of our own consciences as followers of Christ.”
– Beulah Print
Beulah told the WRC that it was the subject matter – a same-sex union – rather than the person that they objected to.
The WRC found that Beulah Print provide wedding invitations for heterosexual couples, and that they had discriminated against Brennan by refusing him the invitations.
‘Guilty’ of discrimination
In a lengthy Facebook post responding to the ruling, Beulah Print said they were notified in November that they had been found “guilty” of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
“However while we may have been judged so by the WRC, we are absolutely clear, and have maintained from the outset, that we did not discriminate against our customer in turning down the designing and printing of a same sex wedding invitation.
“Therefore we reject the findings of the WRC.
“We have only recently passed laws to allow same sex marriage in this country and a sizeable minority voted against – are we now to require all of those citizens to go against their consciences and bend to the will of the majority?”
– Beulah Print
“We simply acted in accordance with the light of our own consciences as followers of Christ. We did not refuse our customer service because of who he is or how he chooses to live.”
The company went on to say that they have turned down “many jobs” over the years as they had opposed their faith.
They continued: “The WRC ruling tends to force conformity with regard to personal moral choices which many people hold in good faith. We have only recently passed laws to allow same sex marriage in this country and a sizeable minority voted against – are we now to require all of those citizens to go against their consciences and bend to the will of the majority?”
Ireland put same-sex marriage to a public vote in 2015, which saw 62 percent vote in favour of legalising it. Before that, civil partnerships were legal in Ireland.