An Antrim bakery could face prosecution for refusing to bake a cake printed with a message of support for marriage equality.
The Christian-run Ashers Baking Company refused to take an order to bake a cake for Queerspace an LGBT volunteer organisation in Belfast. The cake was intended to read “Support Gay Marriage”, include Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie and feature the website’s logo.
Now, the bakery has been warned by Northern Ireland’s Equality Commission that the refusal to bake the cake could result in prosecution for allegedly being in breach of the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations Northern Ireland 2006 which deals with the provision of goods, services and facilities.
Ashers’ manager, 24 year-old Daniel McArthur, argues that the family-run bakery could not fulfill the order as it clashed with their ethos. He added that a full refund was offered to the complainant.
“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,” he said. “We thought that this order was at odds with our beliefs, certainly was in contradiction with what the Bible teaches.
“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”, said McArthur.
A spokesperson for the Equality Commission told The Irish Times, “In this case the commission has granted assistance to the complainant, and has written to the company concerned on his behalf. The commission will consider any response before taking further action.”
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