Dear Marriage supporter
Bakery sued for refusing to make a ‘gay’ [read homosexual rites] marriage cake
A family-run bakery in Northern Ireland has been threatened with legal action for refusing to decorate a ‘gay’ marriage campaign cake.
Ashers Baking Company Limited in Belfast was asked to print the words “Support Gay Marriage” on one of their cakes. But the owners, Colin and Karen McArthur, felt that doing so would go against their sincerely-held religious beliefs.
They contacted the customer, a volunteer activist for QueerSpace, to offer a full refund and explain that they could not, in good conscience, complete the order. The following month, the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland contacted the bakery and said they’ll be sued unless they change their stance.
Keep pressing for a ‘reasonable accommodation’ law
We have always warned that the redefinition of marriage would have sad implications for business owners who support traditional marriage. It was only a matter of time before we saw a case like this arise.
The cake wasn’t even for a ‘gay’ wedding – it was for a campaign event for which the organisers quite easily found another bakery. Same-sex marriage isn’t even legal in Northern Ireland. So it’s not hard to imagine this type of scenario occurring in other parts of the UK.
We contacted you recently explaining that the Deputy President of the Supreme Court, Lady Hale, has argued that Parliament should look at a ‘reasonable accommodation’ law. This could better protect people like the McArthurs who conscientiously object to same-sex marriage. We must keep on pressing for the Government to have a change of heart.
Good news: Finland upholds traditional marriage
For the second time in less than two years, the Finnish Parliament’s legal affairs committee has rejected same-sex marriage.
In June, committee members voted 10-6 against the same-sex marriage Bill, compared to 9 votes to 8 in March 2013. The whole Finnish Parliament is expected to debate the legislation in the Autumn.
Good news: guidance for teachers
New guidance from the Department for Education has upheld the freedom of teachers to say they believe in marriage between a man and a woman. The guidance, published in May, states: “No school, or individual teacher, is under a duty to support, promote or endorse marriage of same sex couples.” [Just think about that sentence for a moment and its connotations for personal freedom].
This comes in addition to guidance (see extract) published in March from the Equality and Human Rights Commission on how education providers should tackle the implications of same-sex marriage. We hope it will help protect children, teachers and parents who believe in traditional marriage.
Coalition for Marriage