A Christian printing company in the Republic of Ireland has become the latest business to take a stand for traditional marriage, based on firmly-held religious convictions.
Beulah Print & Design declined to print invitations for a gay couple’s civil partnership ceremony.
The incident comes after calls by the Council of Europe for member states to support the principle of reasonable accommodation.
Commitment to God
The owners of Beulah print said that because of their Christian faith they could not print material for John Keirans and Jonathon Brennan’s civil partnership ceremony.
A statement released by the company stressed that their decision was not a personal attack on the customers, whom they had happily served for four years, but was due to their opposition to same-sex marriage.
It reads: “We, at Beulah Print, are Bible-believing Christians who are committed to standing by our conscience and God’s Word.
“We have never hidden our faith from our customers and represent the gospel at every opportunity. We are not against homosexuals however, we do not support same sex marriage, which printing wedding invitations would do.
“We believe the love of God is extended to all people and that He has called us all to walk in the light of His word, for He is the way, the truth and the life.”
The co-owner of the company, Noel Tuite, said that they had turned down requests to print material depicting nudity before based on the same convictions.
Last month, the Council of Europe overwhelmingly backed a report into intolerance against Christians, which highlighted a need to improve “the principle of reasonable accommodation”.
The body, which represents 47 European countries, stressed that Christians in particular need to be protected so that they are not penalised for their beliefs.
It came after recent attacks on Christian businesses which declined to provide a service which contravened their religious convictions.
In Northern Ireland a Christian-run bakery is facing court for declining to provide a pro-gay marriage campaign cake.
Ashers Baking Company is being taken to court later this month by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, a taxpayer-funded quango.
Simon Calvert, Deputy Director of The Christian Institute, responded to media reports on the incident and defended Beulah Print’s actions.
Mr Calvert said: “It would appear Beulah has been happy to serve them for years and only in this instance have they been unable to help.
“Here we have Christians acting perfectly gently and reasonably in declining an order.
“What next? Are we going to tell Muslim printers to print cartoons of Mohammed? Or ask an environmentalist marketing consultant to promote fracking?
“Or is it only Christians who are told to endorse views they disagree with?”