Bakery faces legal action after refusing order for gay marriage cake

Marriage|July 9th 2014

A bakery in Northern Ireland could be prosecuted after it cancelled on order for a cake promoting gay marriage.

Ashers Baking Co, in Newtownabbey near Belfast, received an order for a cake featuring the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie arm in arm, along with the slogan ‘support gay marriage’ and the logo of campaign group Queerspace.

The baker took the order but subsequently cancelled it, saying that making the cake would breach the director’s religious beliefs and endorse campaigners’ efforts to legalise gay marriage in the province. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where same sex marriage remains illegal.

However, the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland has now warned the firm that refusal of the order could amount to discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, saying the bakery could be prosecuted if it does not remedy its “illegal discrimination” within seven days.

Ashers has received support from the religious charity the Christian Institute who insist that refusal to support a political campaign does not amount to discrimination. The charity’s Colin Hart said the threat of legal action set  a “dangerous precedent”.

“This means millions of ordinary people who do not agree with gay marriage, face intimidation and the real threat of legal action from the forces of political correctness if they, out of conscience, decline to provide good or services to campaign groups they do not agree with or support.”

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  1. Andrew says:

    I am reminded of the minority judgment in Ladele which referred to Islington’s “obsessive political correctness”. The Commission should wind its neck in. There are other bakeries. You might as well complain because a kosher or Halal restaurant does not sell pork chops.

  2. Luke says:

    ” You might as well complain because a kosher or Halal restaurant does not sell pork chops.”

    Your point is well made Andrew, if they had a monopoly on the baking industry then the complaint would have some merit – as they don’t it’s just the Equality Commission on a pathetic power trip.

  3. DT says:

    We are all entitled to a freedom of conscience, however, if you provide goods & services you need to provide them to the world as it is, and the world is made up of gay/ straight/ black/ white/ religious/ secular etc. people.

    You would not be allowed to refuse to serve somebody because of their ethnicity or race and nor should you be allowed to discriminate on the grounds of sexuality. It’s the thin end of the wedge. The Equality Act is there to protect us as a society from discrimination and this is discrimination.

    While equality has taken great strides over recent years, sadly, not everybody has progressed at the same time and there’s more work to be done.

    Many religious people have come around to being much more openly accepting of gay /LGBT matters; not all have but real progress has been made.

    Gay people should be treated the same as everybody else. There must be complete & full equality.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear DT
      Thanks very much for another great comment. Always sensible and considered.
      Hope all is well with you,

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