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Bakery Refuses Order For 'Bert and Ernie' Cake Supporting Gay Marriage: VIDEO

Ashers bakery norhern ireland refuses order for cake

A bakery in Northern Ireland could face legal action from The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland for refusing to take an order for a cake with the slogan “support gay marriage.”

Based in Newtownabbey, Ashers was named after a verse from the Bible, which refers to "Bread from Asher,” reports RTE.

LGBT activist Gareth Lee asked for the cake, ordered to help mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, to be decorated with the slogan “Support Gay Marriage,” a logo for QueerSpace, and an image of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street.

Speaking to RTE, Ashers general manager Daniel McArthur said:

"I would like the outcome of this to be that any Christians running a business could be allowed to follow their Christian beliefs and principles in the day-to-day running of the business and that they are allowed to make decisions based on that."

The Christian Institute, which is supporting Ashers because “the case proves the need for the law to reasonably accommodate family-run businesses with firmly held beliefs,” said:

“When the order came through to the head office, the manager and directors decided to decline the request on conscience grounds, and offered a full refund.”

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland says that refusing to make the cake amounted to discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and has written to Ashers asking that it remedies the situation within seven days or be taken to court.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the U.K. where same-sex marriage remains illegal.

Last May, The Colorado Civil Rights Commission rejected a Denver-area bakery’s appeal of an earlier ruling that bakery owner Jack Phillips “unlawfully discriminated against a gay couple by refusing to sell them a wedding cake."

Watch a video released by Ashers in which they comment on the case, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Yet another instance where we can't allow people and their private businesses to hold to their particular beliefs. Nope. We have to hammer them into submission. Typical bullying tactic. Absolutely sickening.

    Posted by: Jon | Jul 8, 2014 10:53:21 AM

  2. I assume "STONE ALL ADULTERERS" cakes are in high demand at this bakery...

    Posted by: David | Jul 8, 2014 10:55:07 AM

  3. Yes, but it's the Muppets! How cruel.

    Posted by: Jack M | Jul 8, 2014 10:56:16 AM

  4. I never understand the stupidity of these people. They coulda gone with a copyright infringement reason for refusing to make this cake, and no one would have batted an eye.

    But noooooo, they have to ram their religiosity down everyone's throats.

    Posted by: crispy | Jul 8, 2014 10:59:36 AM

  5. When you are working for the public with a secular business you've got to be prepared for anything. Make the damn cake, get it over with, and save yourself a lot of trouble.
    P.S. You're in business to make money, not deny people their cake orders!!

    Posted by: David From Canada | Jul 8, 2014 11:00:14 AM

  6. I notice that, as is typical in such cases, the bakery's manager says specifically that "Christians" (obviously meaning his own twisted and biased version of "Christianity") should be able to deny people service. There is no suggestion that atheists, agnostics, non-religious people, Jews, Buddhists, Sikhs and others should also be able to deny service to HIM.
    If a bakery were refusing to bake a cake to celebrate a Baptism, there's no doubt the "Christian Institute" would turn it's argument backward.
    Still, I always wonder why anyone wants to fight to be allowed to hsnd their money over to a business owner who hates them. I'd go to the bakery with a rainbow flag on its window and a policy of fairness for all people, regardless of whether I'm buying a cake with an equal rights message or just a croissant to go with breakfast.

    Posted by: GregV | Jul 8, 2014 11:03:35 AM

  7. dear "Christians", i don't really think that your "God" is going to be all that upset about what is essentially, in fact *literally*, DECORATIVE ICING ON A CAKE.

    let's say the cake design was all chinese symbols, which translated into a pro-gay saying. the couple who own this bakery would likely have no idea what messages they were writing. because it's decorative icing. on a cake. it's not as if they're being asked to officiate a wedding. it's saying "can you put this on cake?" then they say "no, i have a religious belief that stops me from putting this decoration on a cake. well, not really. but that's my story and i'm sticking to it"

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jul 8, 2014 11:09:49 AM

  8. While they are not allowed to discriminate based on the reasons given, I as a gay man would have to refuse to reproduce this image for one simple's a flagrant violation of copyright law, go to a copy centre and as an attendant to copy an image from a book or other licensed image, they should refuse as well, it's the same'd think they would have thought of that first before going the hate route, bigots are so dumb.

    Posted by: Epic | Jul 8, 2014 11:11:17 AM

  9. The law is a blunt instrument, and best used to achieve our broad-based civil rights. The more gradual work to change the culture involves winning hearts and minds. We're already achieving that with younger people, even Evangelical Christians. Bludgeoning opponents into submission will only harden their hearts against us -- even if they grudgingly bake that cake (spitting, or worse, in the batter).

    Posted by: DW | Jul 8, 2014 11:43:51 AM

  10. @JON I will assume that you are being ironic or sarcastic with your comments. Yes, poor, innocent, little put-upon businesses being harassed by those mean, bullying gays who simply want to be treated as, God forbid, with dignity, as equals. What is this world coming to? Perhaps Ireland needs our august Supreme Court Five, those reprobate Catholic reactionaries to ride to the rescue of all the christian businesses of the world and beat back the marauding gays and bludgeon them into submission.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Jul 8, 2014 11:50:41 AM

  11. Actually this could get much more involved than simply denying to bake a cake based on "strongly held religious beliefs". Unauthorized and illegal use the Sesame Street characters is very heavily policed and when violations are discovered legal action is strongly enforced (same with Disney characters). If this bakery has been making cakes using those copyright characters they stand a huge chance of a law suit that will far exceed anything their little bakery could have ever anticipated. By refusing to bake this one cake they have opened up their business to national media attention that will not go unnoticed by the holders of the copyright for these characters.

    Posted by: ThomT | Jul 8, 2014 11:55:57 AM

  12. It's actually a very simple question. What are the public accommodations laws in the community in which the bakery does business, and did they violate them? The reason why they violated them is immaterial, and the only reason we're talking about it is because the reason is religion-based prejudice. (Religion has always been treated with kid gloves in the US, and probably always will.)

    No one's gonna go to jail, and no one's gonna lose their business. But the business might be fined if they've violated one of the laws governing business operations in their area.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Jul 8, 2014 12:10:12 PM

  13. Unionist, evangelical bigots.....and undoubtedly members of the Orange Order......all bigots.
    Is anyone surprised ?

    And it's not "could face legal action".......the shop owners will face legal action.
    I know of no defence of "strongly held religious beliefs" being a defence to anything.
    BTW Atheists have equally strongly held anti-religious beliefs.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Jul 8, 2014 12:30:40 PM

  14. This is different from the Colorado case in this country, where a baker refused a generic wedding cake, sans 'message', to a gay couple. I don't think a business (and there are probably few where this would apply) should have to explicitly send a message they're opposed to, just on general free speech grounds. I mean, we all support the message of THIS cake, but take a minute and think of all the other possible things someone might want you as the baker to put on a cake you'd feel are legitimately offensive to you, your other customers and problematic for your business if associated with you.

    Posted by: Booker | Jul 8, 2014 12:39:54 PM

  15. Prog fascists who happen to be gay just cannot stop until they compel everyone to do what they wish.

    A bakery refused to make a cake with a political message. Send them to jail! Röhm is dead but his legacy lives with us.

    Posted by: AG | Jul 8, 2014 12:46:32 PM

  16. Also dead? My dignity. But I barely had any to begin with. It sucks being a conservative.

    Posted by: AG | Jul 8, 2014 12:48:24 PM

  17. There are Equality Laws: they must be enforced.

    The USA interpretation of 'freedom of speech' has no place in the discussion.

    Breaches of the law, incitement to hatred, sectarianism, bigotry, discrimination.....all have a long and pernicious history in Northern Ireland. We have seen where such bigotry leads and it is with mean spirited, small minded, little self righteous religious oafs that it all began in the first place.

    Let's nip this vile hate in the bud, now.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Jul 8, 2014 12:59:33 PM


    Do you have any business? Are you mean spirited and small minded if you refuse to bake a cake or make a T-shirt that say "Impeach Obama" or "Obama is an incompetent and a liar"?

    You're a fascist and a bigot.

    Posted by: AG | Jul 8, 2014 1:13:36 PM

  19. I respect my parents wishes to not have cakes that say "happy birthday" because nobody in my family is actually happy that I was born.

    Posted by: AG | Jul 8, 2014 1:25:40 PM

  20. It's a cake, not a cross.... There is nothing religious about it!

    I wish Christians would stop making up stuff, and claiming that it came from God and the Bible.

    Certainly, there is nothing about birth control in the Bible, to begin with. And educated people know Jesus was never quoted as saying anything about gays.

    However, we all know the Bible includes silliness about red dresses and such....

    Stop making stupid things up!

    (Didn't this article get the rightwingers excited----look at the postings.... they care so much about businesses but not people.... how sad)

    Posted by: TonyJazz | Jul 8, 2014 1:36:36 PM

  21. It's a cake, not a cross.... There is nothing religious about it!

    I wish Christians would stop making up stuff, and claiming that it came from God and the Bible.

    Certainly, there is nothing about birth control in the Bible, to begin with. And educated people know Jesus was never quoted as saying anything about gays.

    However, we all know the Bible includes silliness about red dresses and such....

    Stop making stupid things up!

    (Didn't this article get the rightwingers excited----look at the postings.... they care so much about businesses but not people.... how sad)

    Posted by: TonyJazz | Jul 8, 2014 1:36:37 PM

  22. I hope the editor fixes the comments. I didn't post it twice, but there they are....

    Some technical glitch on the towleroad end... Now I see why I've seen that happen so often...

    Posted by: TonyJazz | Jul 8, 2014 1:44:09 PM

  23. @ AG :

    Just how familiar are you with the equality laws being broken here ?

    Or are you just mouthing off, as usual ?

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Jul 8, 2014 1:44:22 PM

  24. The very phrase "firmly held beliefs" is nonsense.

    Aren't all beliefs "firmly held" until they are changed ?

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Jul 8, 2014 1:45:26 PM

  25. @Booker makes a valid point.

    If a bakery makes, say, wedding cakes and a gay couple asks for one, the bakery has no right to single out gay couples for exclusion if the non-discrimination laws of their area cover sexual orientation. (I don't know the laws in Northern Ireland.) This was the case with the baker in CO and the photographer in NM. They were clearly in violation of state non-discrimination law. Why they were in violation (their personal religious beliefs) is irrelevant. A gay baker would have no right to target Christians for exclusion, either.

    But if a baker is only refusing to put a specific message on a cake, such as "Support Gay Marriage," that's trickier territory. Presumably, if a baker was asked to do a cake in the shape of genitalia, they could refuse because they wouldn't make such a cake for anyone. Or if they were asked to make a cake saying "Christians Suck" or "Racism Rules" or "Kill the Jews" ... That's more in the category of refusing to make or carry a certain product, and there's a case to be made for that. Kosher delis aren't required to carry non-kosher products.

    Refusing any order from a group/customer you disapprove of is not quite the same as refusing to make a unique product for a customer. Would this bakery have been willing to do another cake, or would all cakes be off-limits?

    Posted by: Ernie | Jul 8, 2014 2:14:15 PM

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