On September 4, we received the following letter to the editor from Nicola Hyland.
I make hand crafted, personalised, clay cake toppers and I was invited by Daintree Paper on Camden St., Dublin to become part of their ‘Wedding Hub’ in May this year. The idea behind The Wedding Hub is a space where brides and grooms can visit and view the stalls of potential wedding suppliers.
One of the toppers in my stand depicts two clay grooms holding hands. After about a week of my stand being in the store I got a call from the owner saying he would like a word next time I am in. He had removed the same-sex couple topper from my stand without my permission because it was in conflict with his religious beliefs and although he is happy for people from the LGBT community to shop in his store, he is not comfortable with promoting same-sex marriage on the shelves.
This was pretty shocking to hear. I told him that what he did was not in line with my own beliefs, and indeed that I wasn’t happy with him removing stock without my consent, and that I could not in good conscience remain in The Wedding Hub if he refused to place the topper back where it was. After a lengthy conversation, during which it was pretty obvious he wasn’t going to change his mind, I left and removed my stand from the shop a couple of weeks later.
This incident has been all at once shocking, upsetting and anger-inducing. I had been of the belief that this kind of attitude was all but gone, but I was very sadly mistaken. I would like to add that in the weeks following this incident I have spoken to a number of staff members in The Wedding Hub and Daintree Paper, none of whom share the opinion of the owner.
RIGHT TO REPLY
According to our policy, whereby we send letters complaining about businesses or individuals we feel are right to print, we sent a copy of the letter to Paul Barnes, the owner of Daintree Ltd, giving him a right to reply. Here is his reply:
Thank you for allowing me the right to reply to Nicola’s letter. Daintree does not stock any merchandise that promotes same-sex marriage.
Daintree has a subsidiary company called The Jesse Box, which is a program for teachers and parents to pass Christian faith to children through re-enacting bible stories in a diorama.
There is an obvious conflict here that prompted the action as outlined in the letter from Nicola Hyland.
Paul Barnes, Daintree Ltd
We then received a letter from another client of Daintree, Emma McManus , in support of Nicola:
My name is Emma McManus and my company Bespoke Vintage Designs was part of Daintree Paper’s Wedding Hub on Camden Street. When I heard that my colleague, Nicola Hyland’s same-sex wedding cake toppers were removed by Daintree Ltd’s owner, Mr Paul Barnes, I was sure he had just made a mistake and would rectify it.
When I heard that they were removed because of his religious beliefs, I was completely shocked. I was also shocked at how he wasn’t willing to back down and seemed totally unapologetic about his discrimination against same-sex couples. I decided that I didn’t want to work with someone who brought their personal beliefs into their business and had no shame in discriminating against gay men and lesbians.
I have since removed all my stock and business cards the following week, having told the owner that I don’t want to be involved with someone who felt this was an acceptable way to do business. I feel that Mr Barnes should be named and shamed for the way he handled the situation.
We’d love to get your opinion on this, either below or on Facebook, or twitter @gcnie #daintree
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