Northern Ireland’s Equality Commission has threatened to take legal action against a Christian-run bakery after it refused to bake a cake with the slogan “Support Gay Marriage.”
The owners of Asher Baking Co., based in Newtownabbey, said they were unable to produce the cake as this would conflict with their Biblical belief that marriage can only be between one man and one woman.
Volunteer LGBT activist Gareth Lee, who placed the order, also wanted a picture of Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie in an embrace, and a logo of the homosexual pressure group, QueerSpace.
Management had informed Lee that the bakery, owned by the McArthy familiy, would be unable to make the cake on the basis of a conscientious objection, and offered to give him a full refund.
But the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland wrote to the bakery claiming that it had discriminated against Lee on the grounds of sexual orientation. The Commission threated to take the McArthy family to court if they failed to remedy their “illegal discrimination” within seven days.
“We thought that this order was at odds with our beliefs, certainly was in contradiction with what the Bible teaches”, Daniel McArthy said.
“We are Christians and our Christianity reaches to every point of our lives, whether that’s at home or in the day-to-day running of the business.”
Unsettling and Disruptive
He added: “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, and we continue to take the stance that we do take.”
The bakery is being supported in its case by the Christian Institute.