Delegates back bakery in gay cake storm but attack result of same-sex referendum
Delegates at Church House for the installation of the new Presbyterian Moderator, Dr Ian McNie, last night were overwhelmingly supportive of Ashers Bakery, recently found to have discriminated against a gay man for refusing to bake a cake with a slogan supporting same-sex marriage.
And they were generally critical of the Yes result in the referendum on same-sex marriage in the Irish Republic.
Tom Reid from Clogherney in Co Tyrone, said: "The Presbyterian Church extends all over Ireland and I am not sure how our Ministers in the Republic will deal with the Yes vote. I think that they are going to have difficulty in handling this."
Paul Symonds from Belfast said: "I was not surprised by the result of the referendum - but we should realise that what is legally permissive is not necessarily morally right."
George Hampton from east Belfast said: "A great many people support Ashers, and I think that they are right to appeal. Though I am disappointed at the result of the referendum in the Republic, you cannot expect non-Christians to have the same views as Christians."
Rosaleen Ramsey from Ballymoney said: "I am sad for Ashers, though I am undecided about the appeal."
Husband John said: "If you are in business you cannot be expected to leave your religious views at home when you walk out the front door."
Mark Moody from Ballymena, a young steward at the Assembly, said: "The Ashers verdict was not correct. I think that they are right to appeal, and I would like to see a fairer verdict. It's not right that people should be forced to give a service they do not agree with."
Fellow steward Ben Hegan from Limavady said: "On the same-sex referendum, I can see how many people in society can accept homosexuality, but we accept the teaching of the Bible that it is wrong."
Alan Bell of Greenisland said: "I am delighted that Ashers are going to appeal, and whatever the final verdict might be, I know in the end God's will must prevail."
Carrie Barkley from Belfast said: "Ashers are a very fine company and I disagree with all those who oppose them."
Alan Meban, a blogger from Belfast, said: "The Ashers case is very important, and I am glad that it is being brought to a higher court for a decision."