It takes a nation to protect the nation
How the customer wanted the cake to look. Pic: Christian Institute
A Christian-run bakery which refused an order to make a pro-gay marriage campaign cake featuring a picture of Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie is facing legal action.
Ashers Baking Co in Northern Ireland, where gay marriage has not been legalised, was founded by Christian directors and is run based on their religious beliefs and values, which includes not opening for business on Sundays.
Daniel McArthur, general manager of the 22-year-old company, said he and the directors considered the cake design and decided the order was "at odds with our beliefs" and "in contradiction with what the Bible teaches".
"Marriage in Northern Ireland has not been redefined. It still is defined as being a union between one man and one woman," he said in an online statement.Ashers is named after a verse from the Bible. Pic: Christian Institute
The Newtonabbey bakery, which is one of six run by the McArthur family, employing 62 people, refunded the customer in full and thought that was the end of the matter.
Six weeks later it received a letter from the Equality Commission threatening legal action and accusing it of discriminating against the customer on the grounds of his sexual orientation.
It asked the bakery to propose how it would recompense the customer and said it would pursue legal proceedings if the firm did not respond in seven days.
It said it would "consider any response before taking further action".
The Christian Institute, which is providing the bakery with legal support, said the request for the cake was made in May by a "volunteer LGBT activist".Mr McArthur was 'surprised' by the reaction. Pic: Christian Institute
It said it was supporting the bakery because "the case proves the need for the law to reasonably accommodate family-run businesses with firmly held beliefs".
Its director Colin Hart said: "All the McArthurs want is to run their bakery according to their Christian beliefs. There won't be many situations where they need to turn down an order but this is obviously one of them.
"No one should be forced to use their creative skills to promote a cause which goes against their consciences. Imbalanced equality laws are making it increasingly hard for people, especially Christians."
He added: "It establishes a dangerous precedent about the power of the state over an individual or business to force them to go against their deeply-held beliefs."
Mr McArthur said he was "surprised" to receive the letter from the equality watchdog and added: "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.
"We do continue to take the stand and stance that we do take."
One of the LGBT activists interviewed by Pink News explained:
We were thinking of confronting Muslims who've driven the Gays out of East London, but that seems so far away its really hard to relate to. We prefer issues closer to home.
Similarly with the Gays being hung from cranes in Iran. Have you noticed how pretty the arrangement of bodies is, and how the light catches them as they dangle in the dawn sunlight? And anyway, that Persian poetry is SO beautiful. But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself here. Let's just stick to local issues. We are talking about baking cakes NOW, we aren't talking about hypothetical Muslims' statements that they will kill the gays in Northern Ireland, because that won't happen till they get Sharia Law, and that's decades away.
No, the big issue is that these people were refusing to bake cakes which promote the Gay agenda. I took on that dangerous fight, I took that risk, and I won that battle. Now the entire Gay community of Northern Ireland can rest in peace, knowing their human rights are fully protected by this victory on the cake baking front!
At this, the activists high-fived each other and went on a victory march around the local church to celebrate their defeat of all (but one) threats to their revolutionary lifestyle.