BELFAST, May 19, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) – A bakery in Northern Ireland must pay £500 in damages after its owners refused to violate their Christian beliefs and make a cake supporting so-called gay marriage.
Ashers Baking Company of County Antrim in Northern Ireland was recently sued by gay agenda activist Gareth Lee, who wanted a cake with a message supporting gay “marriage.” After service was denied, the man demanding the political pastry said the bakery discriminated against him because of his sexual orientation. The Equality Commission then helped him pursue legal action.
According to the judge who decided the case, Ashers is a for-profit business and not a religious group. Hence, says the judge, the bakery illegally discriminated against Lee based on his sexual orientation and his political beliefs.
The ruling tries to explain that Irish law “must protect the rights of the Defendants to have and to manifest their religious beliefs but it also recognizes that the rights of the Plaintiff not to be discriminated [against] because of his sexual orientation must also be protected.”
It continues, “If the Plaintiff was [sic] a gay man who ran a bakery business and the Defendants as Christians wanted him to bake a cake with the words 'support heterosexual marriage,' the Plaintiff would be required to do so as, otherwise, he would according to the law be discriminating against the Defendants.”
“The Defendants are entitled to continue to hold their genuine and deeply held religious beliefs and to manifest them,” the final ruling assures, “but, in accordance with the law, not to manifest them in the commercial sphere if it is contrary to the rights of others.”
The general manager of Ashers is “extremely disappointed with the judgment.”
“We've said from the start that our issue was with the message on the cake, not with the customer, and that we didn't know what the sexual orientation of Mr. Lee was, and it wasn't relevant either,” the general manager stated. “We've always been happy to serve any customers who come into our shops.”
“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,” he warns.
The chief commissioner of the Equality Commission, on the other hand, says, “We started off by saying that we believed that there had been a discriminatory act. The judge has upheld it — that both under sexual orientation regulations, political and religious opinion, that there were discriminatory acts.”
“We're here to help people who otherwise couldn't help themselves,” he insisted, “and in this particular case it's clear that Gareth was discriminated against; the judge has made that clear.”
Just south of the border, Ireland is currently in the final week before a country-wide referendum on whether civil marriage is to be redefined to include same-sex couples. Early polls showed heavy support for government-endorsed sodomy by the Irish people, though more recent polls suggest the support may not be as high as previously believed.