A printing company has apologized after the owner of its franchise in Suwanee refused to print wedding invitations for a lesbian couple.
Paige Beckwith told WXIA’s Rebecca Lindstrom that she and her fiancé Megan had been open with vendors that there would be two brides and that none of them appeared to care—until they came across AlphaGraphics owner Alan Akins.
Beckwith contacted the company after being referred by a friend but the owner called them back to let them know he wouldn’t print the invitations because of his disapproval of 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?,” she told WXIA.
Akins confirmed to WXIA that he had denied the job and had declined other kinds of print jobs based on religious grounds.
Beckwith took her complaint to the company’s main office, which apologized and offered to design and print the invitations for free. The company also released the following statement:
We do not condone discrimination of any kind, and wish to make clear that customers of any race, religion, nationality, ethnicity or sexual orientation are welcome at our franchisees’ locations nationwide.
We also wish to apologize to the customers who were impacted by the actions of this franchisee, and hope that our response conveys the level of commitment we feel toward upholding our company’s standards of inclusion, and that all members of the Suwanee community continue to feel welcome at AlphaGraphics.
The incident highlights a concern brought up throughout the fight over state Sen. Josh McKoon’s (R-Columbus) so-called “religious freedom” bill during this year’s legislative session. However, as discussed in recent Georgia Voice report, it is already legal to deny service to people in Georgia based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.