Ashers: ‘This was never just about a little bakery’

Speaking outside the Court of Appeal in Belfast this morning Daniel McArthur, of Ashers Baking Company, stressed the vital importance of the Ashers case.

Ashers returns to court this week in a bid to overturn a decision made last year by the County Court, which found it had broken discrimination law.

The court ruled against the bakery, owned by Colin and Karen McArthur, for refusing to fulfil an order to make a cake with a slogan supporting same-sex marriage.

Wider implications

Speaking this morning, Daniel said: “This has never just been about one little bakery in Belfast. It’s clear that its always had implications for freedom of expression throughout the UK.

He added: “The Gospel says that we’re all sinners and God is the great Judge. None of us can hope to stand before Him on our own strength or our own goodness because we have none.

“But we’re thankful that Jesus Christ has lived a perfect life, He died an atoning death, and He rose from the dead so that we can be reconciled and have peace with God.

“And it’s this hope that sustains us, it is this that gives us joy and it will sustain us whether today we win or we lose this case.”

Read the full statement.

Robust case

Deputy Director for Public Affairs at The Christian Institute, Simon Calvert, said: “The McArthur family have had to wait a long time for this hearing.

“It’s been a privilege for those of us at The Christian Institute to support them and to stand alongside them.

“They have been so patient and gracious about the whole thing, and so appreciative of everybody’s support.

“Now it’s over to the lawyers to make their arguments in court. It’s going to be an interesting few days. We think our case is a robust one and we trust that the judges will see it the same way.”

Marriage

Ashers declined to decorate a cake with the words “Support Gay Marriage” in May 2014 because of the owners’ Christian belief that marriage can only be between one man and one woman.

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland took Ashers to court and in May last year, a district judge ruled that the bakery had breached political and sexual orientation discrimination regulations.

A previous hearing scheduled for February was delayed following a last-minute intervention from the Attorney General – an indication of the legal significance of the case.

More than 17,000 people have signed a Christian Institute petition in support of the McArthur family.

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