NI council calls for quango to drop Christian bakery case

A local council in Northern Ireland is calling for a taxpayer-funded equality quango to drop its legal case against a Christian-run bakery.

Members of Craigavon Borough Council voted 13 to 8 in support of Ashers Baking Company, which is facing court action for declining to make a pro-gay marriage campaign cake last year.

Councillor Philip Moutray tabled the proposal, as the case could have significant financial implications for Ashers.

Public money

He explained: “I am appalled at the targeting of a small bakery, contrary to its Christian beliefs.

“The commission has tens of thousands of pounds of public money at its disposal. Ashers haven’t resources like that”, he added.

Moutray also put forward the motion in light of DUP plans to amend equality legislation to introduce a conscience clause.

Conscience clause

Lawyers for Ashers 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.

And Councillor Johnny Buckley said the Commission’s legal action “speaks volumes of their inbuilt bias”.

“This will be their 18th sexual orientation case since 2008, but despite increasing discrimination against Christians in the workplace and elsewhere, they have yet to take up cases on behalf of Christians”, he commented.

The DUP has launched a consultation on introducing a conscience clause, which closes on 27 February.

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