The Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has come under fire for describing equality as a “Trojan Horse”.
Referring to ‘fundamentalist bigots’ and homophobia during a meeting in Enniskillen, Adams said “what’s going to break them is equality”, posing the question: “Who could be afraid of equality?”
He has subsequently said that he partly regrets using the Trojan Horse analogy.
Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt said using that phrase is “the most shocking revelation”, and shows Adams “thinks equality is nothing more than a tool to be used to manipulate” people.
And Alliance leader David Ford said he was “appalled and disgusted” at Adams’ comments, adding that he has “actually damaged equality” with his comments.
This comes as the taxpayer-funded Equality Commission for Northern Ireland is taking the Christian-run Ashers Baking Company to court over its refusal to produce a pro-gay marriage campaign cake.
Sinn Féin MLA Cáitríona Ruane claimed Ashers’ refusal shows “how far we still have to travel in the campaign for LGBT rights”.
“We cannot have a situation in the north of Ireland whereby companies and businesses feel they can pick and choose which customers they serve and which they will not,” she said.
Ashers Baking Company declined the campaign cake order because it conflicted with the owners’ Christian beliefs about marriage, not because of the customer’s sexual orientation.
Daniel McArthur, Manager of the bakery, has pointed out that Ashers is “willing to serve any customer regardless of their sexual lifestyle, of their race, of their religion or their political beliefs”.
Lawyers for Ashers deny that they broke sexual orientation or political discrimination laws.
DUP MLA Paul Givan is looking to introduce a conscience clause in order to prevent similar cases in the future.
He wants to amend equality legislation through his private member’s Bill.