Ashers bakery being ‘punished’ for Christian beliefs, says QC in ‘gay cake’ Supreme Court row
The couple who refused to bake a cake in support of gay marriage in Northern Ireland have said that they are being “punished” by the state for their religious beliefs.
Born-again Christians and owners of Ashers bakery Daniel and Amy McArthur said that they refused to bake a cake that contained a slogan supporting gay marriage due to a “an objection of conscience,” the Supreme Court in Belfast heard on Tuesday.
“Mr. and Mrs. McArthur have been penalised by the state, in the form of the judgment, for failing to create and provide a product bearing an explicit slogan ‘Support Gay Marriage’ to which they have an objection of conscience,” David Scoffield QC told the court.
The cake, which was ordered in 2014 by gay rights activist Gareth Lee, bore the slogan ‘Support gay marriage.’
The request to make the £36.50 cake was rejected by the McArthurs on the basis that the message went against their religious beliefs.
The court also heard that the cake was refused for its slogan, not due to the sexuality of the customer.
“They would equally have refused to provide that cake with the slogan to a heterosexual customer,” said David Scoffield QC.
“Their difficulty was the content of the cake, not the characteristic of the customer.”
This is the first time the Supreme Court has stood in Northern Ireland.
The McArthurs’ case has passed through every court, and has cost them £150,000 to date.
Their legal fees are being covered by The Christian Institute.
“Please pray for Colin, Karen, Daniel and Amy McArthur during the court proceedings and for a successful outcome to their appeal,” said the Institute in a newsletter.
“We thought that this order was at odds with our beliefs. It certainly was in contradiction of what the Bible teaches,” said Daniel McArthur prior to the first ruling.
“I feel if we don’t take a stand with this case, then how can we stand up against it further down the line?”
As it stands, Northern Ireland is the only country in the UK that hasn’t legalised same-sex marriage.
A cross-party bill to legalise same-sex unions was tabled in March.