‘Gay wedding cake’ case could set precedent for Muslims (UK)

The Independent 18 March 2015
A human rights lawyer has claimed that a potential ruling that would force a Christian bakery to bake a same-sex marriage cake could set a sweeping precedent – that could see a Muslim printer ordered to print images of the Prophet Mohamed or an atheist web designer forced to create a website about God.

Aidan O’Neill QC said legal action against Ashers Baking Co, a Christian-run bakery in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland, could have far-reaching implications for “negative freedom of expression”, The Telegraph reported.

Last year the bakery refused a gay rights activist’s request to produce a cake featuring a picture of the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie alongside the slogan: “Support Gay Marriage.”

General manager Daniel McArthur insisted that baking the cake would amount to endorsing the campaign for the introduction of gay marriage in the province, and go against his religious convictions. Unlike the British mainland, gay marriage is not legal in Northern Ireland.

However, the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland wrote to the firm insisting that they were in breach of the law. It claimed that refusing to print the cake amounted to discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation against the man who placed the order.

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