A BAKERY in the North of Ireland faces legal action after refusing to decorate a cake with the slogan ‘support gay marriage’.
Owners of the Ashers Baking Co firm in Newtonabbey, which is Christian-run, cancelled an order when they realised the design called for a picture of the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie arm in arm below the words ‘support gay marriage’.
They now face legal action by a government body, but claim producing the cake with the slogan and the requested logo of gay rights group QueerSpace would ‘go against’ their religious convictions.
They added it would amount an ‘endorsement’ for the campaign for the introduction of gay marriage in the North.
This morning, former Mayor of North Down Andrew Muir revealed the cake was intended for an event to mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
He confirmed that after Asher's Baking Company refused to produce the cake, another bakery in Bangor stepped in to create it.
"I fully support the action taken against this bakery. Businesses should not be able to pick and choose who they serve," he said.
"There would not be any debate if the cake had depicted an anti-racism or anti-ageism slogan, nor should it require intervention from the Equality Commission for this cake for Anti-Homophobia Day".
The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland has since written to the firm, insisting that they are in breach of the law.
The letter orders the firm to “remedy your illegal discrimination” within seven days or be taken to court by the commission.
The Christian institute, which is supporting the bakery, says it is not discriminatory for managers to refuse to endorse a political campaign.
Gay marriage is yet to be legalised in the North of Ireland.