Bakery refuses to make Bert and Ernie cake in support of gay marriage: “The order was at odds with our beliefs”

A Christian run bakery in Northern Ireland is facing legal action for refusing to bake a cake with Bert and Ernie on, as gay marriage goes against their religious beliefs.

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by Jonika Kinchin |
Published on

The manager of Ashers Baking Company said that the client wanted the cake to have a slogan in support of gay marriage on it, as well as an image of Sesame Streets Bert and Ernie but he denied the order as it would be 'at odds with what the Bible teaches'.

Northern Ireland is the only place in the UK where gay marriage is still illegal. The law is expected to be challenged later this year in the high court in Belfast. It is a possibility that action could go all the way to the European court of human rights.

A statement was published on the company's website defending it's decision to deny the order.

Daniel McArthur, Ashers Baking Company's general manager said: "The directors and myself looked at it and considered it and thought that this order was at odds with our beliefs.

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It certainly was at odds with what the Bible teaches, and on the following Monday we rang the customer to let him know that we couldn't take his order."

Andrew Muir, Northern Irelands first openly gay mayor has showed his support for the legal action being taken against the bakery by stating that businesses should not be able to pick and choose who they serve.

He revealed that the Bert and Ernie cake was intended to be for an event he was hosting in the constituency back in May, as he is the outgoing mayor of North Down and a gay member of the centrist Alliance Party. The cake was ordered especially so it would collaborate with the International Day Against Homophobia on May 17.

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Ashers Baking Company was established in 1992, runs six shops in the region and has 62 employees. Mr McArthur, 24 confirmed that the company had recieved a letter from the Equality commission for Northern Ireland.

He said he was "very surprised" by the watchdog's letter, which said: "The commission's letter said that we had discriminated against the customer on the grounds of his sexual orientaton... I feel if we don't take a stand on this here case, then how can we stand up against it, further down the line?

In the past we've declined several orders which have contained pornographic images and offensive, foul language," he said.

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Andrew Muir also added: "For Northern Ireland to prosper and overcome our divisions we need a new society where businesses are willing to cater for all, regardless of religious views, political opinion, disability, race, age, sexual orientation, marital status, gender and other backgrounds."

Gavin Boyd of the gay rights organisation 'the Rainbow Project', humorously said that the company "cannot have their cake and eat it" in relation to equality legislation in Northern Ireland.

What do you think of the bakery's actions? Let us know in the comments below!

**By Jonika Kinchin **

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