NI bakers defend their marriage stance on day 2 of court hearing

Mar 27, 2015

The family of bakers on trial for declining to decorate a cake with the campaign slogan “Support Gay Marriage” have been giving evidence in Belfast County Court today.

Karen McArthur, who owns and runs Ashers with her husband Colin and son Daniel, told the court she had declined the order because of “the message on the cake”. She said, “I knew in my heart that I could not put that message on the cake” because “I do not support gay marriage”.

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland claims Ashers Baking Company broke discrimination laws when they refused the order.

Representing Ashers in court, David Scoffield QC said: ‘Forcing individuals on pain of being in court to produce goods promoting a cause with which they strongly disagree, is the antithesis to democracy. It leaves no room for genuine disagreement.’

The case has been adjourned until Monday. A judgment is not expected for a number of weeks.

As we know, sadly the Ashers case is not an isolated event. The case of Bryan Barkley, the volunteer axed by the Red Cross after 18 years for holding a sign saying ‘No Same Sex Marriage’ is all too fresh in the memory.

This case is not about someone deciding not to serve a customer because they don’t like them – as gay activists and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland would have us believe.

This is about whether someone should be forced to promote a cause with which they fundamentally disagree.