19 May 2015, The Tablet

Northern Irish bakers found guilty of discrimination

A Northern Irish bakery has been found guilty of discrimination after it refused to bake a cake decorated with a pro-gay marriage message, in a judgement which makes clear that a business is not a religious organisation, and having deep-held beliefs do not give business owners the right to make choices about who they provide services for.

Ashers Baking Company, owned by a devoutly Presbyterian family, received support from Christians across the world for refusing to bake a cake with a pro-gay marriage theme for a local gay rights activist.

Gay marriage is not legal in Northern Ireland.

On Tuesday district judge Isobel Brownlie acknowledged that the McArthur family, owners of the bakery, hold genuine deeply held religious beliefs, but said their business was not a religious organisation but a business run for profit. “As much as I acknowledge their religious beliefs this is a business to provide service to all,” she said. “The law says they must do that.”

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