Printer’s right to say ‘no thanks’ is valid

The disagreement between a printing company in Louth and a gay couple who had asked the company to print invitations to their civil ceremony wedding in August is a particularly modern dilemma. It is undoubtedly one of many like it that will be highlighted before this summer’s referendum on whether or not same-sex marriages might be legalised.

The printers, devout and active Christians opposed to same-sex marriage, declined the request, despite having done business with one of the individuals involved for a number of years.

This was, like it or not, their prerogative and, in the hierarchy of rights that shapes a modern republic, it is as valid as any.

The refusal may not win any awards for political correctness but at least it has an honesty about it that is not always active in our society; it may not be entirely commendable but it cannot be denied.

Just a few weeks ago, Europe was convulsed by the deadly attack on the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. That magazine’s determination to test the right to free speech to the very limit was supported by millions who marched in Europe’s capitals to show their solidarity.

If Charlie Hebdo is entitled to print images to deliberately offend Muslims and Christians, then the Louth printers must surely be entitled to make the decision they made? It is, after all, just the other side of the same coin.


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