A bakery in Northern Ireland which denied a pro-same-sex marriage cake order, based on its owners’ beliefs could now face legal proceedings.
The Christian run Ashers Baking Co. in Northern Ireland refused to make a pro-gay marriage cake, which featured a slogan “Support Gay Marriage – Queer Space Born 1998” with a picture of Sesame Street characters Ernie and Bert, because it says it clashed with the ethos of their company, saying,
‘We thought that this order was at odds with our beliefs, certainly was in contradiction with what the Bible teaches.’
Queerspace is an organisation, which seeks to increase the visibility of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) Community in a positive manner to counteract the disregard, and negative images presented to the general public.
The bakery is now facing a legal challenge by the Equality Commission, who accused it of discriminating against the customer, asking it what it was going to do to recompense the customer – and it would proceed with the matter legally if the company didn’t respond in 7 days.
The Christian Institute is providing the bakery with legal support.
Its director Colin Hart said:
‘All the McArthurs want is to run their bakery according to their Christian beliefs. There won’t be many situations where they need to turn down an order but this is obviously one of them.
‘No one should be forced to use their creative skills to promote a cause which goes against their consciences. Imbalanced equality laws are making it increasingly hard for people, especially Christians.’
Although same-sex marriage is legal in England & Wales, Northern Ireland is yet to change the law with regards to marriage. In April a same-sex marriage motion was defeated in NI.
The Bakery is unapologetic when it comes to their discrimination saying, ‘Although we have found this experience certainly unsettling and disruptive to our day-to-day business, we are certainly convinced that we have made the right decision.
‘We do continue to take the stand and stance that we do take.’