Columnist says 'It's time to fight back' after Irish baker fined for not promoting illegal gay marriage

by Joni B. Hannigan |

(REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton)A woman leaves Ashers bakery in Belfast. March 26, 2015. Ashers is to face a discrimination case from the Equality Commission after it refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan on it which was to be given to Andrew Muir, Northern Ireland's first openly gay mayor. The bakers refused to make the cake on the grounds that it contradicted their religious beliefs according to local media.

BELFAST, Ireland (Christian Examiner) -- In Northern Ireland, where same-sex marriage is illegal, gay rights activist Gareth Lee took Ashers Baking Company to court for not baking a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan.

A Belfast judge determined Ashers is not exempt from Ireland's discrimination law, and so Lee prevailed, according to a BBC news report.

We've said from the start that our issue was with the message on the cake, not the customer and we didn't know what the sexual orientation of Mr. Lee was, and it wasn't relevant either. We've always been happy to serve any customers that come into our shops.
- Daniel McArthur, General Manager, Ashers Baking Company

The order for the Sesame Street themed cake was placed with founder and owner Karen McArthur, a Christian who at first accepted the order, and then called Lee to let him know the company, which employees 80 others across nine braches in the UK and Ireland -- could not make the cake.

Lee told the court he was left feeling inferior by the decision made by Ashers Baking Company, according to a report in Breitbart.

Ashers' General Manager Daniel McArthur told media they were "disappointed" by the ruling and "it's been a difficult and exhausting time for us as a family but God has been faithful to us."

From the beginning, the cake shop has said they serve all clients.

"We've said from the start that our issue was with the message on the cake, not the customer and we didn't know what the sexual orientation of Mr. Lee was, and it wasn't relevant either," McArthur said in a Breitbart report. "We've always been happy to serve any customers that come into our shops."

Damages of about $777 were agreed to in advance by legal teams on both sides of the issue, according to the BBC report. This contrasts with a judgment awarding $135,000 to a lesbian couple for "emotional suffering" after Aaron and Melissa Klein, the Oregon-based owners of Sweet Cakes Bakery (which they have since closed), refused to bake a wedding cake in celebration of the couple's same-sex marriage.

In the situation in Ireland, the Equality Commission suggested such businesses close, McArthur said, "But we won't be closing down, we certainly don't think we've done anything wrong and we will be taking legal advice to consider our options for appeal."

The Irish businessman, in a release from The Christian Institute said he has heard from Christians throughout the world and he has had opportunities to talk about his "Christian faith and the Lord Jesus Christ."

One columnist in Breitbart says in talking about the "victimization" of Christian bakers, "it's time to fight back."

Gerald Warner said it wasn't very long ago that Catholics and Protestants were "bombing and shooting one another" in Ireland, and "now both sides are being bullied an oppressed by militant secularism."

He suggests it won't be long -- as commentary in the pubs and media indicate -- that Muslim print shops might be lawfully forced to print caricatures, of the prophet Mohammed.

"The possible permutations of offence and coercion are infinite, because that is the kind of cock-eyed society the fanatics of the PC consensus have created," Warner says.

Reintroduction of a "conscience clause Bill on equality legislation is key, he asserts.

Even the conscience clause might be doomed, Warner admits. Apparently Sinn Fein, the oldest political movement in Ireland -- and the Irish republican party -- has signaled it will veto any such legislation.

Sinn Fein, the author notes, claims to speak for the Catholic community of Northern Ireland.

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