Georgia Printer Refuses to Print Wedding Invitations for Lesbian Couple

Another day, another case of bigotry and discrimination by a business. This time it’s the owner of a printing company in Georgia, who refused to print wedding invitations for a lesbian couple. The company for which he franchises is not happy about it.

A printing company has apologized for the owner of its franchise in Suwanee, Georgia, who refused to print wedding invitations for a lesbian couple, WXIA reports.

Alan Akins, the owner of a local Alpha Graphics franchise, told the couple the he could not do the job because his religious beliefs did not allow him to support same sex marriage.

“I kept asking him how, why, how he could do this? He just basically stood on his religious beliefs, referenced the Bible, called it a sin, and I was basically in tears saying how could you treat me this way?,” recalled Paige Beckwith, one of the brides…

Akins told WXIA that he would be happy to provide the couple services for other occasions, but the wedding was off limits for him. He also said that this was not the first time he declined a print job because of his religious beliefs.

And I’m sure that when a heterosexual couple comes in to get wedding invitations, Akins makes sure that neither of them have been divorced, right? Because the Bible very clearly calls that a sin as well. Oh, and he better also make sure that the bride-to-be is a virgin. If she isn’t, I’m sure he’ll gladly print up the invitations to the public stoning the Bible demands for her (but not for the man, of course).

And if a Muslim or Hindu group comes in to get invitations to an event, he turns those down too, right? Because those people are violating the very first commandment by worshiping other gods. And I’m sure he refuses to print business cards for a business that is open on Sunday. That violates one of the Big Ten as well. Wait, he doesn’t do those things? You mean he’s singling out gay people as special sinners? How entirely unsurprising.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • whheydt

    Sigh…. Unfortunately, in Georgia, what he’s doing is probably legal.

  • eric

    You mean he’s singling out gay people as special sinners? How entirely unsurprising.

    Unsurprising, but unfortunately probably not a legally compelling argument. An individual’s religious beliefs don’t have to make sense or be consistent to be sincere. A cynical judge might even note that it is in the nature of religious beliefs to be fairly arbitrary.

    Still, the larger point should be that religious belief should not shield otherwise illegal conduct.

  • Chiroptera

    eric, #2:

    I haven’t checked whether sexual orientation is listed as a protected class in Georgia’s anti-discrimination laws; if it isn’t, then the printer doesn’t even have to claim religious belief to be within his rights to deny service to this couple. As whheydt said, the printer may be acting entirely within the law in Georgia.

  • busterggi

    “And I’m sure that when a heterosexual couple comes in to get wedding invitations, Akins makes sure that neither of them have been divorced, right? Because the Bible very clearly calls that a sin as well. Oh, and he better also make sure that the bride-to-be is a virgin. If she isn’t, I’m sure he’ll gladly print up the invitations to the public stoning the Bible demands for her ”

    I’m sure he would if he could. Religious fanatics just love their sacred traditions. Even if the bible says nothing about Lesbianism at all.

  • http://festeringscabofrealityblogspot.com fifthdentist

    The Georgia Legislature actually was on track to pass last month an Indiana-style religious freedumbs law, but one committee tacked on an anti-discrimination amendment and the sponsors pulled it rather than let it go forward in that form.* It was scheduled to be resurrected without the amendment.

    Then the shit rain came down on Indiana and it was allowed to quietly die.

    * It’s about religious freedom, not discrimination, but passing a version of a bill that prohibits discrimination is unacceptable, for some reason.

  • John Pieret

    The interest of the parent company may have changed Akins’ mind. Asked by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the case:

    The printer, Alan Akins, a franchisee of AlphaGraphics, told The AJC: “We never discriminated against anyone, for any reason. Never do.”

    He would not elaborate further.

    http://www.ajc.com/news/news/suwanee-printer-wont-do-wedding-invitations-for-ga/nk4Kx/

  • erichoug

    If I was Alpha Graphics, I would not only apologize but make sure those women got their wedding invitations for free.

    It does put a wrinkle in things when you are franchising from a larger, national chain that might not be as interested in alienating customers as you are. If Alpha Graphics cancels his franchise agreement, he will have a tough time continuing in business.

  • John Pieret

    erichoug:

    That link I gave above says the parent company has offered to their invitations for free.

  • dhall

    So, when Akins then stated that “We never discriminated against anyone, for any reason. Never do.” he was lying since he did exactly that. Which evidently means that lying is okay in his version of Christianity too. Nice to know.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    the parent company has offered to their invitations for free.

    Which means that the guy’s not only going to to the lesbians’ invitations, it’s coming out of his pocket. Way to discriminate!

  • Michael Heath

    How is a printer practicing their religion by printing invitations for anyone, or a taxi driver by carting people carrying beer around with them, or a baker that bakes a cake? The whole argument is just one of many made by conservative Christians that comes across as incoherent bigoted hate. That rather than the infringement of their constitutionally numerated right(s) with the exception of the free association clause; which never gets raised by these bigots. I presume because it better exposes their bigotry.

  • pixiedust

    I hope the parent company exercises its religious freedom by refusing to do business with the franchisee. At the very least, it would be entertaining to see which business the Republicans side with.

  • =8)-DX

    Reading the headling my mind went off in all kinds of strange directions:

    “Idaho Photocopier Refuses to Print Chick Tracts”

    “Mississippi Digital Camera Will Not Record YouTube Video of Anti-Gay Pastor”

    “One Oven’s Decision Not To Bake Cake For Gay-excluding Wedding”

    “Gays Must Be Allowed to Prom, says North Carolina Sewing Machine”

    Darn, where are all those robotic applicances with empathy circuits.

  • eric

    Michael Heath:

    How is a printer practicing their religion by printing invitations for anyone, or a taxi driver by carting people carrying beer around with them, or a baker that bakes a cake?

    I don’t think its in our best interests to try and read RFRAs so narrowly and then complain people haven’t met the standard of what counts as a ‘religious practice.’ I think its a much better strategy to read it broadly as talking about religiously-motivated business conduct, because I want to beat them on that front: eliminate all religiously based (otherwise illegal) discrimination, not just the discrimination that doesn’t fit into the box of a ‘religious practice.’