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Belfast Bakery Guilty Of Discrimination For Refusing Marriage Equality Cake Order: VIDEO

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Ashers Baking Company in Northern Ireland has been found guilty of discrimination after refusing an order for a cake with the slogan “support gay marriage”, reports RTE.

The Northern Ireland Equality Commission brought the case against Ashers on behalf of Queer Space activist Gareth Lee who had requested a cake featuring Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia.

CakeIn a ruling at Belfast County Court yesterday, district judge Isobel Brownlie said:

"The defendants have unlawfully discriminated against the plaintiff on grounds of sexual discrimination. This is direct discrimination for which there can be no justification."

Ashers was ordered to pay agreed damages of £500 ($780) plus court costs. General manager Daniel McArthur said:

"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. The ruling suggests that all business owners will have to 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.

"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.”

However, Brownlie said that the McArthur family “must have known or had the perception that the plaintiff was gay...supported gay marriage or associated with others who supported gay marriage."

A statement issued on behalf of 100 evangelical church leaders said:

"It will sadden all those who value freedom of conscience and freedom of speech. This decision represents a serious blow for free speech and plunges the law into confusion. It opens up a Pandora's box of legal cases".

Last month, Northern Ireland health minister and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Assembly member Jim Wells resigned after saying that children of gay parents are "more likely" to be abused or neglected

Watch a report, AFTER THE JUMP...

 

Continue reading "Belfast Bakery Guilty Of Discrimination For Refusing Marriage Equality Cake Order: VIDEO" »


Northern Ireland Health Minister Resigns After Linking Same-Sex Marriage With Child Abuse: VIDEO

Jim Wells

Northern Ireland health minister and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Assembly member Jim Wells has resigned after saying that children of gay parents are "more likely" to be abused or neglected, reports RTE.

Shortly after being appointed health minister last September, Wells started blocking LGBT and women's rights groups on Twitter.

Footage in which he says "facts show you certainly don't bring a child up in a homosexual relationship" was released following an election campaign event.

Duporguklogo(col)Stating that at no time did he wish to cause offense, Wells said that he was under a lot of stress when he made the comments as his wife is currently in hospital:

"The events of the last week have taken place against the backdrop of a difficult period.

"On the issue of comments I have made which have attracted significant publicity, I have already said sorry for the offense caused and acknowledged that the comments were factually inaccurate.

"At no time did I set out to hurt or offend anyone and it has upset me greatly that the comments made have caused distress to some within our community.

"I am deeply saddened that some of those who represent a different viewpoint from me have attacked my family and me in a deeply personal, nasty and, in some cases, threatening way.

"Some of the outbursts on social media have been particularly abusive and menacing in nature."

Sinn Féin's Maeve McLaughlin said Wells’ position as health minister was "clearly untenable after his attack on the LGBT community, which was completely unacceptable from someone holding the position of health minister".

She also called on the DUP to end its opposition to "marriage equality, blood donations from gay men and adoption by gay couples".

Watch a report and Wells' original comments, AFTER THE JUMP...

Yesterday, the Northern Ireland Assembly rejected same-sex marriage legislation for the fourth time following the employment of a blocking mechanism by the DUP.

Continue reading "Northern Ireland Health Minister Resigns After Linking Same-Sex Marriage With Child Abuse: VIDEO" »


Northern Ireland Rejects Same-Sex Marriage For The Fourth Time: VIDEO

For the fourth time, the Northern Ireland Assembly has rejected legislation allowing for same-sex marriage, reports the Belfast Telegraph.

Peter WeirBrought forward by Sinn Fein, the DUP - party with a long history of anti-gay views and policies - used a blocking mechanism to ensure the motion’s defeat.

In a scathing attack on LGBT rights, DUP Assembly member Peter Weir (right) said:

"This is not a serious debate. Clearly this motion is an attack on the symbolism of marriage and the institution of marriage and an attempt to redefine marriage. My party believes, and I believe also, that marriage is between one man and one woman and once you redefine that you lose the essence of marriage itself."

The SDLP's Colm Eastwood said:

"We need to be seen to be embracing all members of our community. There is no reason why the north of Ireland should be the only place on these islands that doesn't have marriage available to same sex couples."

Stating that his party would continue to work on LGBT rights issues, Alliance Assembly member Chris Lyttle said:

"The Alliance Party...supports the extension of state provided civil marriage to same sex couples, provided that robust legislative protection can uphold the religious freedom of faith groups to define and practice religious marriage as they determine.”

Earlier this week, DUP Assembly member and health minister Jim Wells resigned after a video emerging which showed him linking same-sex relationships with child abuse.

Listen to his comments, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Northern Ireland Rejects Same-Sex Marriage For The Fourth Time: VIDEO" »


Legal Case Against Irish Bakery That Refused to Bake 'Bert and Ernie' Cake Supporting Gay Marriage Begins: VIDEO

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Legal proceedings against a bakery in Northern Ireland for refusing to take an order for a cake with the slogan “support gay marriage” began yesterday, reports RTE.

Based in Newtownabbey, Ashers Baking Company is named after a verse from the Bible which refers to "Bread from Asher.”

Customer and gay rights activist Gareth Lee is supported in his action by the Northern Ireland's Equality Commission (NIEC).

Opening the case against Ashers, Robin Allen QC said the baker’s objections on religious grounds was not lawful and as unjustifiable as a postman declining to post a letter.

Noting the publicity surrounding the case, Allen said that “law must not be determined by those who shout loudest,” adding “this is a case about commerce and discrimination.”

The NIEC alleges that the stance of the company was in breach of legislation. Initially, the commission asked Ashers to acknowledge that it had breached legislation and offer "modest" damages to Lee. However, when the baker refused, the commission proceeded with the legal action.

Arriving at court ahead of the hearing, Ashers owner Daniel McArthur said he was putting his trust in God.

The hearing is expected to conclude today.

Watch a Christian Institute interview with McArthur, AFTER THE JUMP...

Earlier this week, the government in the Republic of Ireland indicated there will be no "right to discriminate" provision in the upcoming referendum on same-sex marriage.

Continue reading "Legal Case Against Irish Bakery That Refused to Bake 'Bert and Ernie' Cake Supporting Gay Marriage Begins: VIDEO" »


Ireland's Former Equality Minister Pat Carey Comes Out As Gay

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Pat Carey, the former minister of Ireland’s center-right party Fianna Fáil has come at as gay. Carey was appointed as a parliamentary member and the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs in 1997. According to Carey his decision to reveal his sexuality to the public was inspired by Leo Varadkar who currently serves as Ireland’s health minister and came out earlier this year.

“When I look back it’s an awful pity I didn’t feel able to do that. Nobody stopped me, but I wasn’t sure how it would be received,” Carey told the Irish Times. “I never had the confidence or the courage to do it, and it gets to a stage where you probably say to yourself ‘it’s too late for me to start talking about it now.”

Carey’s is the latest in a series of high-profile Irish public figures coming out at a critical time for LGBT rights in Ireland. The country is set to vote on the future of marriage equality later on this year in a nationwide referendum. Despite the outpouring of support from Irish celebrities and clergy members alike, those in favor of gay marriage for Ireland are still concerned at the idea of the LGBT minority’s rights being put up for popular vote.


Northern Ireland Couple Challenges Ban On Same-Sex Marriage: VIDEO

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A gay couple is to present a legal challenge to the ban on same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, reports Pink News.

Northern Ireland is now the only part of the United Kingdom that does not allow same-sex marriage.

The couple behind the legal challenge married in England but live in Northern Ireland. It is alleged that failure to recognise the marriage infringes on their rights.

The couple has been granted an anonymity order and is backed by gay rights activist group the Rainbow Project.

Rainbow Project director John O’Doherty said:

“While same-sex marriage legislation in Westminster had many positive aspects, we believe that its provision forbidding the recognition of lawful same-sex marriages in Northern Ireland is irrational, contrary to principles of British constitutional law and incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

“We are resolute in our assertion that no-one can be married in one part of the United Kingdom and then not married in another.

“Once a couple is lawfully married in the UK, we contend that their relationship cannot be reclassified as a civil partnership without their consent which is exactly what the law currently does.

“The legislation says to lawfully married people that they are no longer married. This is unconscionable and cannot be permitted to continue."

The province’s governing Democratic Unionist Party remains strongly opposed to gay rights and has blocked a series of attempts to bring in gay marriage.

Watch a report on the Northern Ireland Assembly's latest rejection of same-sex marriage last April, AFTER THE JUMP...

The first same-sex marriages took place in Scotland at the end of last month.

Continue reading "Northern Ireland Couple Challenges Ban On Same-Sex Marriage: VIDEO" »


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