Northern Irish LGBT activists welcome ‘gay cake’ ruling
Activists have welcomed an appeals court ruling against a bakery that claimed it would be a sin to bake a cake with a pro-gay message on it.
The owners of Ashers Bakery in Belfast were found guilty of unlawful discrimination based on sexual orientation and political or religious grounds, after the company in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland refused to bake a cake showing the message ‘Support Gay Marriage’ above an image of Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie.
Despite losing its initial case, the bakery owners took their case to the Belfast Court of Appeal – with financial and legal help from the anti-LGBT Christian Institute.
However, the court this week dismissed the appeal from Daniel and Amy McArthur, who claimed in their appeal that God considers it a sin to make cakes with pro-gay messages on.
Reacting to the judgment, John O’Doherty, Director of The Rainbow Project said: ‘We welcome the judgment. Ashers Baking Company entered into a contractual agreement to make this cake and then changed their mind.
“While sympathetic as some may be to the position in which the company finds itself; this does not change the facts of the case. The judgement clearly articulated that this is direct discrimination for which there can be no justification’
“We do not believe that this matter should have been brought to court. We believe that Ashers bakery should have accepted the Equality Commission’s invitation to engage in mediation, where a remedy could have been found without the expense and division surrounding this court case.
“We once again extend the hand of friendship to all people of faith, churches and families. We would encourage faith leaders to engage with our community to ensure better relations and to develop trust and respect between our overlapping communities for the betterment of our society.”
Other activists noted involvement in the case from the Christian Institute, who oppose LGBT anti-discrimination protections more broadly.