Ashers punished for refusing to sign up to clearly-flawed ‘equality’ agenda
Even those who would normally entirely disagree with the Coalition for Marriage are very concerned by this week’s ruling against Ashers Baking Company.
The bakery was fined by a County Court judge for declining an order for a cake decorated with a pro-gay marriage campaign slogan.
Writing in the Belfast Telegraph, pro-LGBT broadcaster Fionola Meredith said the ruling was about “silencing and punishing those who refuse to sign up to a clearly-flawed ‘equality’ agenda”.
“If Ashers had refused to serve Gareth Lee, the LGBT activist who ordered the cake, because he was gay, then that would have been a clear act of discrimination, and the bakery’s owners would have deserved to be prosecuted and fined.
“But that’s not what happened. The message, not the customer, was the problem for Ashers.”
She is in favour of same-sex marriage, but stated that “in this instance, my own intellectual and moral conscience compels me to stand alongside the Christian bakers”.
Evangelical Alliance spokesman Peter Lynas also criticised the ruling – he noted polling which showed a large amount of support for Ashers.
In a piece for the same newspaper, he said that in Northern Ireland, everyone “will pay the price” as a result of the case.
He added: “What began as a battle to remove State discrimination against the LGBT community now seeks to use State power to punish those who refuse to support same-sex marriage.”
Mounting criticism of the Ashers’ ruling from all corners of the same-sex marriage debate shows that the judge made a mistake, especially in the court of public opinion. We’re hoping people will continue to speak out against the pursuit and intimidation of those who simply want to affirm that marriage is between one man and one woman.