A Christian printer in Britain reportedly refused to print business cards for a transgender diversity expert, claiming taking up the order would go against his religious views.
Nigel Williams denied his printing services to Joanne Lockwood, a consultant at transgender diversity firm SEE Change Happen, which is aimed at offering advice to businesses on inclusion of LGBTQ staff, The Sunday Times reported.
Lockwood tried to get her company’s promotional materials printed at Williams’ firm, but he refused, saying taking up the contract would “make pressure worse” for other Christians.
“The new model of diversity is used (or misused) to marginalize (or indeed discriminate against) Christians in their workplaces and other parts of society if they do not subscribe to it,” Williams wrote to the transgender diversity expert, explaining his decision to turn down the chance to work together.
He added: “Although I’m quite sure you have no intention of marginalizing Christians it would weigh heavily upon me if through my own work I was to make pressure worse for fellow Christians.”
Lockwood, who is a trans woman since January, claims she was “gobsmacked” by the refusal to perform services, telling the Times: “I was not expecting a lecture. I disbelieved this could happen in 2017. I have been distraught and cried and my wife consoled me.”
“I think a point of principle is at stake. He wanted to make a point to me deliberately for his own motives. I have been the victim of some discrimination,” she added.
The printer received a backing from the Christian Institute, a group that previously supported a Christian family bakery in Northern Ireland who were sued for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.
The Institute slammed the incident, saying it was “chilling and unnecessary” and has similarities to the same-sex wedding cake lawsuit.
“It is a fundamental tenet of free speech and freedom of belief that people should not be forced to help promote causes flatly contrary to their own deeply held views,” the group told the Times.