Long time very vocal ally of the gay community Sir Patrick Stewart shocked many of his fans the other night during an interview on BBC’s Newsnight by publicly supporting the Northern Ireland anti-gay marriage bakers.
Gay rights activist Gareth Lee had commissioned Ashers Baking Co., a Christian-owned bakery in Northern Ireland, to make a cake that was decorated with “Support Gay Marriage’ which they refused to do, quoting their religious beliefs. So Lee sued them and won the case, and the bakery now plans to appeal the decision.
Later on Facebook Sir Patrick wrote:
“As part of my advocacy for Amnesty International, I gave an interview on a number of subjects related to human rights, civil rights and freedom of speech. During the interview, I was asked about the Irish bakers who refused to put a message on a cake which supported marriage equality, because of their beliefs. In my view, this particular matter was not about discrimination, but rather personal freedoms and what constitutes them, including the freedom to object. Both equality and freedom of speech are fundamental rights—and this case underscores how we need to ensure one isn’t compromised in the pursuit of the other.
“I know many disagree with my sentiments, including the courts. I respect and understand their position, especially in this important climate where the tides of prejudices and inequality are (thankfully) turning. What I cannot respect is that some have conflated my position on this single matter to assume I’m anti-equality or that I share the personal beliefs of the bakers. Nothing, absolutely nothing, could be further from the truth. I have long championed the rights of the LGBT community, because equality should not only be, as the people of Ireland powerfully showed the world, universally embraced, but treasured.”
Sir Patrick’s last movie role was in Match when he played a gay dance professor.