Business owner, Nigel Williams, has faced heavy criticism after refusing to do business with trans rights activist Joanna Lockwood. Williams, based in Southampton, owns a business card company and was approached by Lockwood after they met at a business conference earlier in the year.
Lockwood was seeking business cards for her company, SEE Change Happen, which works with business to promote trans quality and give advice on trans rights in the workplace.
Lockwood sent an email to Williams requesting the business cards, only for Williams to respond in a letter detailing his reasons for rejecting the business proposal.
In the letter seen by The Sunday Times, William stated:
“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.”
“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.”
Lockwood expressed her shock at Williams’ reaction, stating:
“I was not expecting a lecture. I disbelieved this could happen in 2017. I have been distraught and cried and my wife consoled me.”
“I think a point of principle is at stake. He wanted to make a point to me deliberately for his own motives. I have been the victim of some discrimination.”
Critics have argued that reactions such as Williams’ have been inspired by Trump’s continual opposition to trans and gay rights, as demonstrated in the case of Colorado baker, Jack Philips.
In 2012, gay couple Charlie Craig and David Mullins entered Philip’s bakery requesting a wedding cake for their receptions. Philips denied the couple on the grounds that it conflicted with his religious beliefs. Although Philips was breaking anti-discrimination laws in Colorado, the case has now been taken to the Supreme Court.
Supreme Court to hear major case pitting Colorado gay couple against baker who cited his Christian faith in refusing to make their wedding cake. https://t.co/Fn9Wd8DlhT
— AP West Region (@APWestRegion) 1 December 2017
Both President Trump and the Department of Justice have decided to back Philips’ plea for the protection of religious liberty over minority rights.
Acting Solicitor General Jeff Wall wrote for the Justice Department. “Forcing Phillips to create expression for and participate in a ceremony that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs invades his First Amendment rights,”
“The government may not enact content-based laws commanding a speaker to engage in protected expression: An artist cannot be forced to paint, a musician cannot be forced to play, and a poet cannot be forced to write.”
The Department of Justice have also been vocal in their reluctance to grant gay workers job protection rights under anti-discrimination laws.
This behaviour of the US government is surprising considering that both Australia and Austria legalised gay marriage this year, suggesting an international shift to more liberal views.
However, it seems that under Trump’s administration trans and gay rights ar every much under attack.