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Printing co. apologizes for Georgia franchise that won’t make invites for lesbian wedding

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A printing company has apologized for the owner of its franchise in Suwanee, Georgia, who refused to print wedding invitations for a lesbian couple, WXIA reports.

Alan Akins, the owner of a local Alpha Graphics franchise, told the couple the he could not do the job because his religious beliefs did not allow him to support same sex marriage.

“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?,” recalled Paige Beckwith, one of the brides.

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Beckwith said she had been open with vendors that this would be a same-sex wedding throughout the wedding planning process, and she had never encountered any other vendor who refused to provide services.

Akins told WXIA that he would be happy to provide the couple services for other occasions, but the wedding was off limits for him. He also said that this was not the first time he declined a print job because of his religious beliefs.

Beckwith has since complained to the main office of the Suwanee Alpha Graphics franchise, and the company has apologized and offered to design and print their invitations at no charge.

The company also released a statement through its spokesperson.

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“We do not condone discrimination of any kind, and wish to make clear that customers of any race, religion, nationality, ethnicity or sexual orientation are welcome at our franchisees’ locations nationwide,” the statement says.

This came after several high profile cases across the country where companies declined business with LGBT customers on religious grounds protected by “religious freedom” legislation passed in 20 states. In Georgia, there is also a similar law pending.

The “religious freedom” bill was proposed in Georgia last year claiming to exempt businesses and organizations from providing their employees healthcare services and procedures, such as abortion and contraception, which are mandated by Obamacare. Critics of the bill warned that it could open the door to private businesses refusing to serve LGBT customers on religious grounds, according to Atlanta Journal Constitution’s PolitiFact.

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One of the sponsors of the bill Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) has recently said that he had given up on passing it, but he might attach the “religious freedom” language to another piece of legislation, according to Georgia Voice.

Although this law is still pending, Marietta attorney Philip Holloway, who is not involved in the case, said the business owner had acted within his legal rights.

“Under Georgia law businesses do have the right to say I’m not going to do business with this sort of couple,” Holloway explained.

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‘Not a pretty picture’: Second-ranking GOP senator inches closer to impeachment after Bill Taylor testimony

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The second-ranking Republican senator sounded an alarm over testimony by the former Ukraine ambassador.

GOP Whip John Thune (R-SD) reacted to testimony Tuesday by veteran diplomat Bill Taylor, who told lawmakers that President Donald Trump directed efforts to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation of Joe Biden in exchange for congressionally approved military aid.

"The picture coming out based on the reporting we’ve seen is not a good one," Thune told reporters Wednesday, "but I would say until we have a process that allows to see this with full transparency it’s pretty hard to come to hard and fast conclusions."

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‘Horde of clueless angry white men’: Internet mocks Matt Gaetz for leading a raid on a secure impeachment hearing

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On Wednesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) led a gang of two dozen conservative lawmakers as they barged into a classified evidence meeting in the impeachment proceeding against President Donald Trump.

Gaetz — who is not a member of the Intelligence Committee but has demanded the right to review sensitive evidence as if he is one — received scorn from commenters on social media for his stunt:

This is their plan? I’m so fucking relieved we’re up against Matt Gaetz.

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BUSTED: Newly uncovered White House budget docs undercut one of Trump’s last defenses in Ukraine scandal

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President Donald Trump's insistence that he only pushed Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden because he was concerned about "corruption" has been one of his primary defenses against House Democrats' impeachment inquiry.

However, the Washington Post has uncovered some White House budget documents that directly undercut the president's defense.

According to the Post, the Trump administration "has sought repeatedly to cut foreign aid programs tasked with combating corruption in Ukraine and elsewhere overseas" even though the White House has insisted that it is laser-focused on promoting good governance in the country.

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