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Ashers gay cake row: 'My wife's love has given me strength as we wait the court verdict. We're both in God's hands'

By Claire McNeilly

The Christian manager of a bakery taken to court for refusing to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan has revealed how the love of his wife has given him strength.

Ashers bakery was subject to legal action by a gay rights activist after it rejected an order on religious grounds.

The verdict in the high -profile and controversial case will be delivered in a Belfast court tomorrow.

Ashers bakery manager Daniel McArthur said his 26-year-old wife Amy had given him strength through the case.

"Amy's always been at my side throughout the whole court case but what I would say, and I know Amy would agree with this, is that we depend fully on God, and God gives us our husbands and wives in these difficult times to help us through them," said the 25-year-old.

The couple have two daughters, two-year-old Robyn and Elia, who is six months.

Mr McArthur said the legal process had been "difficult and exhausting".

"Our faith is very important to us; it determines how we live, how we bring up our children, how we run our business, how we meet and how we engage with other people in society, so yes we can't leave it out whenever we go to work in the morning," he said.

"It's been a difficult and exhausting time for us as a family but God has been faithful to us.

"And He has given us the strength to deal with this, and we know and trust in Him that going forward He will continue to give us His strength."

Mr McArthur also thanked everyone who has supported his family, especially the Christian Institute.

Ashers is owned by his parents, Colin (48) and Karen (45) McArthur.

The close-knit family sat together through the three-day hearing in March.

Other than his evidence in court, Gareth Lee, who ordered the cake, has not yet spoken publicly about the case.

A volunteer member of LGBT advocacy group QueerSpace, he had ordered the cake in Ashers' Belfast city centre shop for a private function in Bangor staged to mark International Day Against Homophobia last May.

He requested a £36.50 cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto 'Support Gay Marriage'.

The customer also wanted the cake to feature the logo of QueerSpace.

Giving evidence in the county court, Mr Lee claimed the rejection left him feeling like a lesser person.

"It made me feel I'm not worthy, a lesser person and to me that was wrong," he told Judge Brownlie.

The case has sharply divided public opinion in Northern Ireland and beyond, making headlines across the world.

Gay marriage is a divisive issue in Northern Ireland and the Assembly at Stormont last month voted down a fourth bid to legalise it.

The Christian Institute's deputy director Simon Calvert said it was behind the family's stance.

"The McArthurs, like countless other Christian business owners across the country, simply want to live and work in accordance with their Christian beliefs," Mr Calvert said.

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