A taxpayer-funded equality quango’s legal case against a Christian-run bakery in Northern Ireland is set to start in court on 26 March.
The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland claims that Ashers Baking Company broke political and sexual orientation discrimination laws by declining to produce a pro-gay marriage campaign cake last year.
Daniel McArthur, manager of Ashers, said that fulfilling the order would have involved promoting a cause which goes against their conscientious view that marriage is between a man and a woman.
The Christian Institute is supporting the McArthurs’ legal case through its Legal Defence Fund.
The McArthurs have received widespread support, including from a gay activist, Northern Ireland’s First Minister, MPs and MLAs.
A poll has also shown that the majority of the general public think the legal action is over the top.
DUP MLA Paul Givan has launched a consultation on introducing a ‘conscience clause’ in Northern Ireland, in light of the Ashers case.
He wants to table a Private Member’s Bill to amend equality legislation.
Lawyers for Ashers Baking Company deny that they breached any laws, but a conscience clause would help to prevent similar cases being brought in the future against people with firmly-held religious views.