A Ballarat couple has decided to keep their engagement ring despite a homophobic attack by the jeweller who made it.

Jen McInerney and Janine Fleming last week appeared on the front cover of The Courier, sharing a kiss to celebrate the outcome of the marriage equality postal survey.

The picture was shared on the newspaper’s Facebook page, drawing many positive comments, but most noticeably an abusive response by the very jeweller who created the couple’s engagement ring.

“Disgusting! Why show it!” said the comment by Dan Murnane of Meticulous Jewellery.

“A couple of the comments were nasty and personal,” said Fleming.

“One of the comments said it was disgusting and it struck me as totally unnecessary and terrible and personal.”

Murnane denied being homophobic and claimed his comment, posted under the picture of McInerney and Fleming, was not directed at the couple.

“I’ve got nothing against them and I didn’t vote against them, I just didn’t need to see on the front of the paper. I just looked at it and I thought ‘yuck’,” he said.

“It’s like a packet of smokes with a rotting foot on it. I don’t smoke and I don’t want to look at it.

“I have nothing against them personally and nothing against the gays. The whole kissing thing was a bit yuck.”

The couple said they considered returning the ring but decided to keep it.

“Jen and I talked about it and our first reaction was we will return and ask for our money back, it felt tainted by that,” said Fleming.

“He doesn’t approve or doesn’t like our relationship, that’s his prerogative. We decided the significance of the ring, the one I proposed to her with, what that meant at the time was really special to us.

“We feel that we have to rise above this, and what that ring means to us means so much more than his comment.”

Fleming said Murnane’s comments represented an outdated attitude.

“I respect people’s right to have opinions but I don’t respect people being downright insulting,” she said.

“We are people just like anyone else and I am sure he wouldn’t like people commenting on his marriage or relationship.”

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