Daniel McArthur of Ashers Baking Company has spoken of his family’s hope that the Court of Appeal will issue a ruling that protects freedom of conscience.
Mr McArthur was speaking outside the court in Belfast this morning ahead of its judgment on the so-called ‘gay cake’ case.
Ashers Baking Company is appealing against a County Court ruling last year which found it had broken political, religious and sexual orientation discrimination laws.
The bakery has been taken to court by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, accused of political and sexual orientation discrimination for refusing to make a cake with the campaign slogan ‘Support Gay Marriage’.
Mr McArthur said: “Over two years have passed since our family business said it was not able to help campaigners who want to change the law on marriage in Northern Ireland.
“We have always said, and say again today, that whilst we are unwilling to endorse a view that goes against our conscience, we will continue to happily serve anyone who comes through our doors – whatever their background, lifestyle, or beliefs.
“This has never been about the customer. It has always been about a message promoting a cause that contradicts the clear teaching of the Bible on marriage. A message promoting a cause with which I and my family fundamentally disagree.
“We hope and pray that today, this Court will send a different sort of message – one which protects the freedom of people like us and of businesses like ours to remain faithful to their conscience.”
When the date for the ruling was announced last week, Simon Calvert, Deputy Director for The Christian Institute which is backing the case, said that the judgment would have far-reaching implications.
“Around the world, those who are concerned for free speech will be paying close attention to the judgment of the Belfast court.
“The case may centre around a single cake but the ramifications for the way society deals with dissenters are enormous.”