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Tuesday 16 July 2019

€2,500 fine for firm that refused to print invites to gay wedding

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Gordon Deegan

A print and design company has been ordered to pay €2,500 to a gay man over its refusal to print invites for the man's civil partnership ceremony to his long-term partner.

This follows a landmark ruling by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) which found Beulah Print and Design discriminated against Jonathon Brennan (33) on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Adjudication officer Orla Jones ordered the Drogheda company to pay for the discrimination under Section 3 of the Equal Status Act.

Mr Brennan contacted the firm in March 2015 to print invites to the ceremony with his long-term partner, John Kierans (39). However, Mr Brennan told the WRC hearing he was "shocked and embarrassed" when Beulah refused. He said the co-owner of Beulah told him they couldn't do it as they were Bible-believing Christians.

In her findings, Ms Jones stated that Beulah confirmed to the hearing that its wedding invitation service is available to heterosexual couples.

Ms Jones found that Beulah refused a service to Mr Brennan that is freely available to heterosexual couples.

She said that it is clear that whatever Beulah's reasons for refusing to provide Mr Brennan with the wedding invitation service, Mr Brennan could have accessed that service but for the fact that he is a gay man.

She concluded: "I am thus satisfied that in refusing to provide the service to the complainant the respondent did discriminate against the complainant on the ground of his sexual orientation."

In a statement on the WRC outcome, Beulah said that it rejected the findings of the WRC.

Efforts to obtain comment on the WRC outcome from Mr Brennan have been unsuccessful to date.

Irish Independent

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