NI Equality Commission ‘intolerant and discriminatory’

May 22, 2015

Only yesterday we shared how editorials at the Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Express and the Belfast Telegraph expressed serious concern about the Ashers bakery ruling.

But the criticism for the ruling just keeps on coming.

In The Spectator, Melanie McDonagh spots the “simply astonishing” idea that workers at Ashers should be obliged to take part, “through their icing bags”, in promoting gay marriage.

She said: “As Daniel McArthur, the general manager of Ashers, correctly observes, ‘The ruling suggests that all business owners will have to be willing to promote any cause or campaign, no matter how much they disagree with it.’”

She added, “it is to my mind wrong and intolerant and discriminatory – a contradiction in terms – for the Equality Commission to discriminate against committed Presbyterians by persecuting them for holding to their moral principles”.

The ruling was also picked up on by Allison Pearson, a columnist for The Daily Telegraph.

She said: “The judge in cakegate said that the defendants ‘have unlawfully discriminated against the plaintiff on grounds of sexual discrimination [she meant orientation]’. But that’s not actually true, is it? Ashers didn’t refuse to sell the cake to Mr Lee because he was gay. They refused to ice a slogan on the cake that attacked their most cherished beliefs.”

Pearson continued, “a gay activist should think twice before asking a well-known Christian baker to make a cake with a slogan he knows they will find deeply upsetting, let alone bringing a prosecution”.

The loud and clear message from the judge presiding over the Ashers case on Tuesday was that anyone who dissents from gay marriage groupthink is likely to be punished.

Ashers did not discriminate, in fact, their own closely-held beliefs were set aside in favour of a view of marriage that has been consistently rejected by the NI Assembly. This sets a worrying precedent for the future.

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