Last month Cape Town-based jeweller Craig Marks Diamonds came under fire for refusing to help design and make an engagement ring for a woman looking to propose to her girlfriend.
The company has now released a media statement in response to the public backlash, however, those looking for an apology should not hold their breath.
Issued by the owners of the company, and listing one Michael Swain, Executive Director of Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA), as media spokesperson, the statement starts off by saying that they were unable to assist with the request “based on our belief that homosexual marriage is not accepted in God’s sight, and that we could therefore not partake in making rings for such a union”.
The press statement then goes on to quote Bible verses for several paragraphs in order to justify their stance, before adding that “while we gladly serve any client (regardless of sexual orientation or any other personal characteristic), our religious convictions prohibit us from taking on every order”.
“In other words”, the statement continues, “while we will gladly accept an order from a homosexual customer to design and manufacture any other form of jewellery, our conscience before God prohibits us from designing and manufacturing rings for the purpose of marriage which, according to the Bible, has a very specific definition and meaning”.
Those who have taken to social media or who have contacted the company directly since the news broke, are then warned by Craig Marks Diamonds that they may be reported to the police.
“In relation to the malicious public attack on our company’s Facebook page and the hate mail received, we have been advised to consider laying charges of crimen injuria with the SAPS and to lodge a complaint regarding the abuse of our right to dignity and the exercise of our freedom of religion,” the owners caution in the press release.
“We sincerely hope that this will not be necessary, and trust that this statement will clarify our position. However, should we continue to suffer threats, harassment or hate speech, we may have no alternative but to follow our legal representatives’ advice and take the necessary legal action, which could include an application for a protection order”.