American bakers in own 'gay cake' row rally behind Ashers family
An American bakery has urged Ashers to fight the discrimination case after having a similar run-in with the law in its home state of Oregon.
Melissa and Aaron Klein said it was "time for Christians to unite" after they were fined $135,000 (£87,000) in a similar case for refusing to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.
The Klein's court battle followed another similar furore last year when a Colorado bakery was accused of religious discrimination because it refused to write anti-gay messages on its cakes - a charge it was cleared of last month.
A religious activist filed a complaint against the Azucar bakery in Denver when it refused to write 'Homosexuality is a detestable sin' on two Bible-shaped cakes.
Bakery owner Marjorie Silva said that when she suggested complainant William Jack buy a piping bag to do it himself, he brought the legal action against her.
Ms Silva said: "We never refused service. We only refused to write and draw what we felt was discriminatory against gays.
"In the same manner we would not make a discriminatory cake against Christians, we will not make one that discriminates against gays." Last month, the Colorado Civil Rights Division ruled that the bakery did not discriminate against Jack. Speaking in support of Ashers' stance yesterday, Mr Klein, who owned the Sweet Cakes bakery in Oregon, said he had no regrets about turning down the business from the lesbian couple.
"My message to Ashers bakery is stand, fight this, it's time for Christians to unite.
"I believe in the Bible and I believe the Bible is God's inherent word," he said.
"He said that marriage is between a man and a woman and also said not to take part in another man's sin.
"Even though there has been a lot of stress, it's a pure joy to stand on God's word."
Mrs Klein described the judgment against the McArthur family as "ridiculous".
"They should have the right to be free not to express something they don't agree with," she said.
"To me, being a baker, the cake is our canvas and we get to put our artwork on it.
"When you make a cake, you are putting your signature on it and they should have the right not to do it."
Mr Klein added: "We're not trying to do something that is overtly trying to hurt someone, we're not trying to tell someone you can't have a cookie in my shop, we're just saying we don't support an event."
The couple have since closed their shop and now sell their baked goods from home.