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Christian printers will keep refusing gay wedding orders despite Ashers ruling

By Deborah McAleese and Amanda Ferguson

Published 22/05/2015

Beulah Print in Drogheda refused a gay couple’s printing order
Beulah Print in Drogheda refused a gay couple’s printing order

A Christian printing company that refuses orders for gay weddings has insisted it will not be changing its policy despite the Ashers Bakery ruling.

Beulah Print in Drogheda, which is facing legal action for refusing to make invites for a same-sex wedding, said it should not be expected to turn its back on its religious beliefs.

Mike O'Leary, one of the co-owners of Beulah Print, criticised Tuesday's court ruling against Ashers bakery, which found the family-run business guilty of discriminating against a customer by refusing to make a pro-gay marriage cake.

"We have a lot of sympathy for Ashers bakery. I feel the judgment does not allow Christians to work without having to go against the Lord," said Mr O'Leary.

"This judgment has not changed our view on the matter. We do not and will not handle orders for same-sex marriage."

Beulah Print is currently under investigation by the Equality Tribunal in the Republic after refusing to make invites for hairdresser Jonathan Brennan who is due to marry his partner John Kierans this summer.

The case against Ashers bakery, which is run by the McArthur family, sparked a major debate about the rights of businesses to refuse service on the grounds of religious beliefs.

In her judgment against the bakery, county court judge Isobel Brownlie said the defendants are not a religious organisation, but are conducting a business for profit and "there are no exceptions available under (law) which apply to this case."

The McArthur family are considering an appeal.

Several local firms have said that while they sympathise with Ashers, bakeries have to serve everyone. Ashley French who runs the French Village Bakery in Belfast, which offers celebration cakes, says he has never experienced any problems producing goods and has no concerns about the future in this respect. "It is 2015 - you have to move with the times," he said.

Rhoda McClure, who runs T-Shirt printing company Norn Iron Tees, said she will print anything as long as it is not illegal.

"I do feel sorry for Ashers in that respect as they went with their conscience but at the end of the day we are there to provide a service to the public," she said.

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