Stonewall slams wedding stationer which refuses gay couples

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Leading gay rights charity Stonewall has weighed in on a controversy surrounding a wedding stationer which refused to provide invitations for a same-sex wedding because its owner is a Jehovah’s Witness.

A couple, who have been together for ten years, Gary O’Reilly and his fiancé, said they had “waited so long” to be able to marry, and were excited when the law changed in March in England and Wales.

After picking designs, and contacting Jill Wilson, who runs Just For You Invitations, the couple were told she could not offer her services to the couple, because of her religious beliefs.

Stonewall’s Media Manager Richard Lane told PinkNews: “The business may be called ‘Just For You Invitations’, but the law is absolutely clear that it cannot be just for straight people. Not only is it unlawful it just makes bad business sense too.”

PinkNews was advised that the policy was possibly in breach of the Equality Act.

The Chairman of MyLawyer Richard Cohen, who is also the legal adviser for PinkNews said: “The decision by Just For You Invitation appears that it could be in breach of the Sexual Orientation regulations of the Equality Act, which makes it clear that business cannot discriminate on the grounds of the sexual orientation of their customers or potential clients.”

A spokesperson from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) told PinkNews: “If anyone thinks that they have been discriminated against unlawfully because of sexual orientation in respect of provision of services  they can take steps to enforce their rights.

“A first step would be to make contact with someone who can give them advice in an individual case, such as the Equality and Advisory Support Service, and that’s what our advice would be to anyone who thinks they have been discriminated against.”

When asked to comment, Wilson declined, other than to say that the Elders from her congregation were to consult with her on the issue

A gay couple who were prevented from staying in a double room by the owners of a Christian guesthouse last year said they were “delighted” that the UK Supreme Court ruled in their favour.

In November, the court rejected a legal challenge by Peter and Hazelmary Bull.