Many Atlanta businesses are figuring out how to get their slice of the $78 million gay marriage boom coming to Georgia. But not franchisee Alan Akins, who told a lesbian couple he wouldn't print their wedding invitations at his AlphaGraphics in Suwanee.
Akins says his religious beliefs trump his business sense, according to WXIA, which first reported the story.
Akins declined to talk on camera and only spoke briefly with 11Alive's Rebecca Lindstrom by phone, confirming he had denied the job.
Akins said he would have printed other things for the couple, just not wedding invitations. He also said he had declined other kinds of print jobs on religious grounds.
So nevermind those gay marriage cases before the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Or that probate judges across the state – the officials who dole out marriage licenses – are on board with the gay marriage. As are Attorney General Sam Olens and Gov. Nathan Deal. Sort of. Along with everyone else.
Akins stood firm in the face of media scrutiny over his decision, even after tears from bride Paige Beckwith.
“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,” said Beckwith.
“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 recalled.
He stood firm, at least until Monday. That's when corporate stepped in, apologized, reiterated its LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination policy, and offered to print Beckwith's invitations for free. Now, Akins isn't proudly discussing his anti-gay behavior, according to the AJC. In fact, he's flipped the script and says he doesn't discriminate.
The printer, Alan Akins, a franchisee of AlphaGraphics, told The AJC: “We never discriminated against anyone, for any reason. Never do.”
Seriously. He pulled from the Josh McKoon playbook, so don't be surprised when he becomes the state senator's new public face of his “religious freedom” bill.