A bakery in Northern Ireland which refused to make a cake supporting gay marriage has been ordered to apologise and pay compensation.
Ashers Baking Co in Newtonabbey caused a stir over the summer when it refused a commission for a cake with the slogan ‘support gay marriage’, along with the logo of campaign group Queerspace and a picture of Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie.
Customer Gareth Lee had commissioned the cake to mark International Day Against Homophobia.
The bakery claimed making the cake would breach the director’s religious beliefs and endorse a campaign to legalise gay marriage in the Province. But the refusal was investigated by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland. The Commission has now warned Ashers that cancelling the cake order constituted “unlawful religious, political and sexual orientation discrimination” and said it would be taken to court if it failed to apologise and pay compensation.
But, The Telegraph reports, the company has remained defiant, insisting that it is ready for a “David and Goliath battle over the issue”.
Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom yet to legalise gay marriage, but a poll published last month suggested that the majority of the population would now support such a move.
Photo by Patent and the Pantry via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence