Three MPs have launched a petition in support of a Christian-run bakery who are being taken to court by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.
The petition states that Ashers Baking Company “are not guilty of discrimination” for refusing to make a pro-gay marriage campaign cake.
This follows an independent poll which found that close to two-thirds of British adults disagree with the Equality Commission’s actions.
The petition was launched by three DUP MPs: William McCrea, Nigel Dodds and Sammy Wilson.
It reads: “We the undersigned express our concern at the use of public funds by the Equality Commission to pursue a prosecution against Ashers Bakery because of their refusal to promote gay marriage.
“We note that Ashers Bakery are not guilty of discrimination, they have not refused to sell their products to anybody on the basis of their sexual orientation nor have discriminated in any other way.”
Dr William McCrea, MP for the McArthurs in South Antrim, also spoke out about the case via his Facebook page, describing the Equality Commission’s decision as “disgraceful”.
Dr McCrea said: “Once again we have witnessed how Christian and other faith based groups are to be persecuted for their scriptural convictions.
“I commend Ashers bakery for their valued contribution to our local community and ask my constituents to give their continued support to the bakery.”
On Thursday last week, the Commission served papers on the McArthur family, who own and run Ashers Baking Company, despite widespread opposition.
A YouGov survey of 2,022 adults in England, Scotland and Wales found that just one quarter think the Commission is right to take Ashers Baking Company to court for refusing to make a pro-gay marriage campaign cake.
Of those surveyed, 65 per cent said they disapproved of Ashers Baking Company being taken to court.
Ulster Unionist MLA Michael Copeland is one of three pro-gay marriage MLAs who have lent their support to the bakery, saying people must “respect” their views.
The Christian Institute is supporting the McArthur family’s legal case.