Ashers gay cake battle: Legal clash ignites passions around the world
The unique battle of religious conscience over rights in Belfast is being closely watched across the globe.
From coverage on the major US news agency United News International to Spanish National Radio, from Christian magazines to gay blogs, a newspaper in the Caribbean and even the infamous hacking group Anonymous, it was the story everyone was talking about yesterday as the first day at court commenced.
From the moment it was first reported that Gareth Lee and the Equality Commission planned to take a case against Ashers Bakery for refusing to bake a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan to the courts of law, the keen interest of both Christians and secularists across the world was aroused.
Widespread public involvement has ranged from online petitions in support of both sides and the rally in support of the McArthur family earlier this week, to the offer of mediation in the dispute by Alliance politician Andrew Muir.
One Daily Mail article sparked a hot debate online, illustrating the strength of feeling, with some complaining the case was an example of the "persecution of Christians", others voicing disgust at the UK's equality laws, and yet others saying that they hoped Mr Lee would win.
Across the Atlantic, the National Secular Society mentioned the Ashers case in a story about the proposal by a lawyer in California to outlaw homosexuality and a religious freedom bill recently published in Indiana.
On Twitter, updates from the unfolding court battle were being tweeted and retweeted by people as far away as China, Kenya and the United States.
The Christian Institute kept its 6,000 followers up to date with the latest twists - as did the Belfast Telegraph - to an eager audience.
Over on Facebook, followers of the Support Ashers Bakery page were expressing their backing for the McArthur family and promising to pray for them.
Ashers gay cake row: Courtroom clash of lawyers and media scrum outside, all because of bakery order