The Coalition for Marriage has welcomed the Supreme Court ruling in the so-called 'gay cake' case as a victory for commonsense and free speech.
The case involved the family-run Asher's Baking Company,which declined to produce a cake carrying a picture of the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie and the slogan 'support gay marriage"'for a pro-same-sex marriage activist.
The bakers said that producing the cake would amount to endorsing the campaign for the introduction of gay marriage in the Province, and go against their religious convictions.
Although the activist was able to purchase a cake from a nearby bakery, he complained to the taxpayer-funded Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI), which decided to bring the case in 2014.
The UK's highest court ruled that Ashers bakery's refusal to make a cake with a slogan supporting same-sex marriage was not discriminatory. The five justices on the Supreme Court were unanimous in their judgement.
Dr Sharon James, a social policy analyst and commentator on marriage, commented: "This is a great day for commonsense and free speech. The Supreme Court, in this unequivocal ruling, has confirmed that men and women should not be forced to use their skills and talents to promote a message or cause that they profoundly disagree with.
"Theyconcluded that there was no discrimination on grounds of religious belief or political opinion, no discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and this case was about the message, not the messenger."
Previously the Coalition for Marriage had warned about the legal ramifications, should this case succeed, citing legal advice commissioned by The Christian Institute from top human rights lawyer, Aidan O'Neill QC.
Mr O'Neill warned that if the case against the Asher's Bakery is successful, it would open the floodgates to similar complaints across the UK.
For example,an atheist web designer could be taken to court for refusing to design a website presenting as scientific fact the claim that God made the world in six days. Or a Christian film company would not be able to refuse to produce pornography. While a clothing company owned by a lesbiancouple would be unable to decline an order for T-shirts carrying a message describing gay marriage as an "abomination".
Dr James said: "It is simply wrong for anyone to be forced to use their creative skills and expertise to endorse the campaign for same-sex marriage - or any other campaign which they strongly oppose.
"C4M are delighted that the Supreme Court fully recognised the merits of the McArthurs family's position and have completely exonerated Ashers Baking Company.
"I hope that questions are now asked about the vexatious and belligerent actions of this state-funded quango, which has dragged a family through the courts for four years, racking up a total legal bill estimated to be around half a million pounds for a cake worth just £36.50"
The Coalition for Marriage is a UK-based alliance bringing together secular and faith-based groups and individuals who oppose attempts to redefine marriage.
The legal action against Ashers Baking Company is being funded by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI) - a taxpayer-funded public body. The ECNI is in favour of introducing same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland.
The Northern Ireland Assembly has rejected five attempts to redefine marriage since October 2012.
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