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'Gay cake' bakery owners set to appeal landmark ruling

The owners of a Christian-owned bakery found guilty of discrimination for refusing to make a cake with a slogan supporting gay marriage have said they may appeal the landmark ruling.

Daniel McArthur, who runs Ashers Baking Company in Northern Ireland, said: "The ruling suggests that all business owners should be willing to promote any cause or campaign, no matter how much they disagree with it.

"Or as the Equality Commission has suggested, they should perhaps just close down, and that can't be right."

ITV News reporter Ben Chapman reports:

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Discriminating bakers ordered to pay £500 damages

Ashers Baking Company has been ordered to pay damages of £500 plus court costs by a court in Belfast today.

The bakery chain, which is owned by a Christian family, was found to have been discriminating against a gay man after it refused to bake a cake with pro-gay marriage slogans on it.

Judge: 'Ashers Bakery is a business bound by law'

A branch of Ashers Bakery Credit: REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

Judge Brownlie accepted that the McArthur family had "genuine and deeply held religious beliefs" but said they must have been aware that Mr Lee was gay and were aware of the ongoing same sex marriage debate.

The judge added: "They must have known or had the perception that the plaintiff was gay.

"They must have known that the plaintiff supported gay marriage or associated with others who supported gay marriage."

Judge Brownlie added: "They [Ashers] are in a business supplying services to all. The law requires them to do just that."

'Gay cake' judge: 'This is direct discrimination'

A judge in Northern Ireland has found against a bakery in a discrimination case.

"This is direct discrimination and there is no justification for it," said Judge Isobel Brownlie about Asher Cakes' decision not to bake a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan on it.

She rejected the bakers' argument that making the cake was showing support for same sex marriage.

"Baking the cake was merely obeying the law and providing the plaintiff with a service."

'Gay cake' row: Bakers found guilty of discrimination

A bakery which refused to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan has been found guilty of discrimination.

Daniel and Amy McArthur of Ashers Bakery. Credit: PA Wire

Ashers Baking Company, run by the McArthur family, were accused of discrimination after it refused to produce a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto "Support Gay Marriage".

The family said they declined the order because the cake's message went against their religious belief.

Gay rights activist Gareth Lee, who ordered the cake, said he had been made to feel like a "lesser person" by the rejection.

In a landmark case at Belfast County Court, the judge ruled that the bakery had "unlawfully discriminated" against Mr Lee.

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NI bakery owners didn't want to 'go against the Bible'

Daniel McArthur, general manager of Asher's Bakery Credit: Ben Chapman

The manager of a bakery which refused to bake a cake with a pro-gay marriage message on it has said that they made the decision "not because of the person but because of the message", ITV News reporter Ben Chapman reports.

Daniel McArthur, general manager of Asher's Bakery, said he and his family "fundamentally disagreed" with that message and "would not support a cause that goes against what the Bible says about marriage".

In a short statement before going into court, he said his family had been through "a difficult time, being dragged through the courts by a publicly funded body".

Belfast court to rule on 'gay cake' case today

Daniel and Amy McArthur followed by founders of Ashers bakery and Mr McArthur's parents, Colin (third left) and Karen McArthur. Credit: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

A verdict is due today in the case against a bakery in Northern Ireland which refused to bake a cake with pro-gay marriage message on it.

Ashers Bakery, run by the McArthur family, has been accused of discrimination after it declined to produce a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto "Support Gay Marriage".

The Northern Ireland Equality Commission - which monitors compliance with the region's anti-discrimination laws - brought the case on behalf of Gareth Lee, a volunteer member of the LGBT advocacy group Queer Space who initially ordered the cake.

Mr Lee claimed that he was left feeling like a lesser person when his money was returned two days after it was first accepted.

The McArthur family, who employ 80 staff across nine branches and deliver across the UK and Ireland, have been supported by the Christian Institute, which has paid their legal fees.

Karen McArthur, a founder and company director at Ashers, told the court she had accepted the request to avoid embarrassment or confrontation but, as a born-again Christian, knew she could not fulfill it.

The verdict is due this morning.

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