C4M responds to Ashers Baking Company defeat

May 20, 2015

Responding to yesterday’s ruling on Ashers Baking Company, Dr Sharon James said: “This is a deeply concerning judgment.

“Judge Brownlie has said that Ashers Baking Company discriminated against Gareth Lee for declining to decorate a cake with a slogan in support of gay marriage.

“She found that the company – which is owned by the McArthur family – had breached laws on sexual orientation and political discrimination.

“But this was never about Mr Lee’s sexual orientation – that wasn’t known by the company.

“And anyway, Ashers has always been happy to sell cakes to anyone.

“This was a case about supporting a cause with which the McArthur family conscientiously disagreed.

“Remember too that same-sex marriage is not the law of the land in Northern Ireland. In fact politicians have voted against the redefinition of marriage four times.

“This result is a blow for free speech. It’s an attempt to make people say things they don’t agree with.

“The family should be commended for standing up for their beliefs.

“Surely, in a democratic country, business owners can be free to make their living free from interference with their reasonably-held beliefs.”