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Coronation Street characters debate Ashers gay cake row

Coronation Street characters have had their say on the Ashers gay cake row.

In Monday night’s episode gay character Todd Grimshaw got into a heated debate over the matter with Bishop John - his partner Vicar Billy's boss.

Todd and Billy recently started a relationship, but when Bishop John visits Billy on their date night, Todd is left to entertain the cleric while Billy takes a phone call.

Billy enters the room in the middle of a conversation about religion and homosexuality and Todd turns the topic to “these clowns that wouldn’t make a cake in Belfast”.

As Billy tries to intervene, he said: “You can’t ask John to speak for Northern Ireland” but the Bishop responds: “That debate wasn’t about cake. It was about interpretation and freedom.”

As the scene ends, Todd adds: “It was your freedom at the expense of mine.”

Newtownabbey-based bakers Ashers found themselves at the centre of a controversial court case when they refused to make a cake featuring Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie and a slogan that said "Support gay marriage" for an event in 2014.

The couple behind Ashers, Daniel and Karen McArthur, who are evangelical Christians, said that the order was "at odds with their beliefs".

Gareth Lee, who placed the order, complained to the Equality Commission, which then warned the company that they had allegedly discriminated against Mr Lee on the grounds of his sexual orientation.

The McArthurs declared they would make a stand on the grounds of religious freedom, taking the case to court. They were backed by the Christian Institute.

After three days in court in May, the judge ruled in favour of Mr Lee and said that although she recognised that the couple had "genuine and deeply held" religious views, Ashers was not exempt from the law.

The couple are currently appealing the ruling.

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