Ashers family speak out ahead of appeal hearing
The McArthur family – who are at the centre of the ‘gay cake’ case – say they have been tremendously helped by the support of thousands of people, as they prepare for next week’s appeal hearing.
Ashers Baking Company goes before the Court of Appeal in Belfast on Monday in an effort to overturn a decision made by the County Court last year. It found that the bakery had broken political and sexual orientation discrimination laws.
The court ruled against Ashers, run by the McArthur family, for refusing to fulfil an order to make a cake with a slogan supporting same-sex marriage because it conflicted with their deeply-held religious beliefs.
Ahead of the case the company’s General Manager Daniel McArthur said it had been a long and difficult road, but they had been helped “by the many thousands of people who have supported us”.
He added: “Many share our beliefs about marriage. Many more defend our freedom to hold those beliefs.”
Use #SupportAshers to show your support for the McArthur family.
He concluded by expressing the family’s desire for a “just outcome” and that next week’s court ordeal would be their last.
Dr Sharon James of Coalition for Marriage said: “It cannot be right for small firms to be compelled to use their creative skills to endorse the campaign for same-sex marriage, or indeed any campaign to which they are conscientiously opposed.
“I am looking forward to the court finding in favour of Ashers Baking Company and the McArthur family.”
The appeal hearing takes place exactly two years to the day that the order for the cake was placed on 9 May 2014.
A previous hearing scheduled for February was delayed following a last-minute intervention from the Attorney General.
A ComRes poll conducted in March 2015 of 1,000 adults in Northern Ireland found that 90 per cent of voters say equality laws “should be used to protect people from discrimination and not to force people to say something they oppose”.