C4M speaks out against NI quango’s attempt to force bakery to endorse gay marriage
C4M has spoken out in defence of the family bakery being taken to court by an equality quango for upholding traditional marriage.
Spokeswoman Dr Sharon James said: “Equality law should not be used to force people to endorse causes they don’t believe in.”
She was speaking as the McArthur family, who own Ashers Baking Company, give evidence today after being dragged into court by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.
The McArthurs were first threatened with legal action last year after they declined to decorate a pro-gay marriage campaign cake.
Daniel McArthur, General Manager of the company, has said: “Our problem with producing the cake we were asked to make last year was with the message not the customer.
“We just didn’t want to be forced to use our creative skills to help endorse and promote a campaign message that went against our sincerely-held religious beliefs.
Dr James said: “It is an issue of principle. People are entitled to have the conviction that marriage is between a man and a woman, and they should not be forced to say that they don’t have that opinion”.
Referring to the broad support already shown towards the family, she said: “This is a uniting of people from a range of different beliefs and convictions.”
“People have united to say there should be a freedom to say what you believe in a free country.”
A meeting in support of the McArthur family earlier this week was attended by almost 3,000 people.
Dr James spoke to the packed Waterfront Hall of other cases in which people have been hounded because of their support for marriage. Most recently, this saw Bryan Barkley, the longtime volunteer for the Red Cross, ditched from his role for holding a sign saying ‘No Same Sex Marriage’.