Georgia is the latest state to become embroiled in the “religious freedom” debate after the owner of an AlphaGraphics store refused to print wedding invitations for a lesbian couple.
Alan Akins of AlphaGraphics’ Suwanee branch cited his religious beliefs when he denied Paige Beckwith and her fiancee, Megan, their custom invitations.
“The owner called me back and let me know that he’s not going to print our invitations because he does not support same sex marriage,” Beckwith told NBC 11.
“I kept asking him how, why, how he could do this? He just basically stood on his religious beliefs, referenced the Bible and called it a sin. I was basically in tears saying ’How could you treat me this way?'”
After Beckwith approached AlphaGraphics’ corporate office, she received a full apology and complimentary wedding invitations. “We do not condone discrimination of any kind,” noted a spokesperson, “and wish to make clear that customers of any race, religion, nationality, ethnicity or sexual orientation are welcome at our franchisees’ locations nationwide.”
Akins’ attorney, Philip Holloway, said, “under Georgia law businesses do have the right to say ’I’m not going to do business with this sort of couple.'”
A religious freedom bill passed the Georgia state senate in March, but the measure remains stalled as meetings on it have been cancelled.