Christian printer accused of discrimination after refusing to make business cards for transgender equality campaigner

A Christian printer in the United Kingdom has been accused of discrimination after sending a letter to a transgender equality campaigner explaining why he could not make business cards for her consultancy office.

(REUTERS / Toru Hanai)Japanese job-hunting students dressed in suits practice swapping business cards during a business manners seminar at a placement centre in Tokyo May 28, 2012.

Joanne Lockwood of SEE Change Happen, a consultancy firm which advocates equality and diversity, reportedly met devout Christian printer Nigel Williams in September and gave him a business proposition after a few weeks. However, the latter responded with a letter turning down the chance to produce business cards for the transgender diversity consultant, The Daily Mail detailed.

In the letter, Williams said he did not want to promote a cause which could cause potential harm or marginalization to his fellow Christians. This prompted Lockwood to cry discrimination, saying the Christian printer could have simply paid her no attention instead of chiding her about someone's values.

"The new model of diversity is used (or misused) to marginalise (or indeed discriminate against) Christians in their workplaces and other parts of society if they do not subscribe to it," said Williams in the letter seen by The Sunday Times. "Although I'm quite sure you have no intention of marginalising Christians it would weigh heavily upon me if through my own work I was to make pressure worse for fellow Christians."

Earlier this year in Kentucky, a federal court ruled in favor of Christian printer Blaine Adamson and allowed him to turn down orders that promote messages that were against his faith. The ruling reversed an earlier Human Rights Commission's order that he must accept such job requests or else be guilty of discrimination, the Christian Broadcasting News reported.

Adamson became embroiled in the case after he refused to print shirts for a gay rights group in 2012 because of the proposed message which promoted a gay pride event. He referred the customer to a willing printer, but the group complained about the incident to the Human Rights Commission even though another business printed the shirts for free.

In the wake of the court decision favoring Adamson, Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Jim Campbell maintained that Americans ought to have the freedom "not to express ideas that would violate their conscience." He also hailed the ruling as a victory for creative professionals and other Americans who should not be forced to express a message that clashes with their convictions.