A Christian-owned bakery in Northern Ireland may face legal action, after being informed that it broke the law by refusing to bake a cake for a customer, based on the management’s opposition to gay rights.
A branch manager has vowed to “take a stand” against instructions to stop discriminating, and compared supporting same-sex marriage to making a cake with pornographic images on it.
Asher’s Baking Company has been told by the Equality Commission that broke the law by discriminating against a gay rights activist, when it refused to make a cake carrying the words “support gay marriage,” reports the Belfast Telegraph.
In a video posted by the bakery, Daniel McArthur, the general manager of the branch describes that a request was made on a Friday for a cake carrying a picture of Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie, the words “support gay marriage”, and the logo of the Queerspace charity. By Monday, the request had been refused.
He Notes that the bakery was founded by, and is still run by Christians, and that Northern Ireland currently does not allow same-sex marriage, saying marriage “has not been redefined” there.
“That means that we run our business according to Christian values and beliefs, according to what the Bible teaches. It means for example that we don’t open on Sundays, that we trade openly and honestly with people,” he says.
McArthur goes on to say that other requests, including pornographic images, and swear words, are also refused by the bakery.
The bakery was given seven days to respond to the letter with how it planned to recompense the customer. McArthur, however, said the company would “take a stand” against it.
“We thought that this order was at odds with our beliefs. It certainly was in contradiction of what the Bible teaches,” he said. “I feel if we don’t take a stand with this case, then how can we stand up against it further down the line?”
Colin Hart, director of the Christian Institute, 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.“
Northern Ireland remains the only place in the UK where same-sex marriage is not available, or soon-to-be available.