A Northern Irish bakery has come under fire for refusing to prepare a cake in support of same-sex marriage for a local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocacy group.
As the BBC is reporting, Ashers Baking Company declined an order from a member of the Belfast-based Queerspace group, which asked for a cake featuring "Sesame Street" characters Bert and Ernie, along with the slogan, "Support Gay Marriage."
Daniel McArthur, who is the bakery's general manager, told the Belfast Telegraph that preparing the cake would go against the Christian values of his family-run company, which is owned by his parents, Colin and Karen McArthur.
“We thought that this order was at odds with our beliefs. It certainly was in contradiction of what the Bible teaches,” McArthur is quoted as saying in an online statement. He went on to note it was not the first time that his company had turned away customers who requested "pornographic" images and "foul" language, adding, "I feel if we don’t take a stand with this case, then how can we stand up against it further down the line?”
Still, as the Daily Mail points out, the bakery could face legal action because of the refusal. The Equality Commission's Northern Ireland Branch said that Ashers Baking Company went against local legislation which "prohibits discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services to a person seeking or obtaining to use those goods, facilities or services on the grounds of sexual orientation."
Earlier this year, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled to uphold a December 2013 ruling which found that Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips had discriminated against Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig when he denied their request for a wedding cake in 2012.
Phillips, a devout Christian, had argued that the decision violated his First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise of his religion. He told CBS Denver that Masterpiece Cakeshop will no longer make wedding cakes of any sort in the wake of the May 30 ruling.