Belfast Telegraph

Ashers photographers booked for 'gay cake' case refuse to hand over images

By Tom Batchelor

A photographic agency hired to take pictures of the Christian owners of a bakery after their Supreme Court victory in the “gay cake” case has refused to hand over the images, saying the company was “standing up against discrimination”.

On Wednesday, Ashers bakery in Belfast won an appeal over a claim that they had discriminated against a customer after they refused to make him a cake iced with the slogan “Support Gay Marriage".

A photographer was booked using the agency Perfocal for a “business event” which listed only a few details about the brief, with no mention of the specific court case or the individuals to be photographed.

But the photographer later realised that the client was the lobby group Christian Institute, which has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds backing the bakery in their legal challenge. The images were then withheld and a refund issued.

In a statement Tony Xu, the founder of the booking site, said: “We appreciate that this looks like tit for tat, and it is.”

He said the firm had been booked for many religious ceremonies, as well as same-sex weddings.

“In short, we welcome customers from all backgrounds,” he said. “When our photographer on the ground learned what it was while doing the job, they felt immediately uncomfortable with the situation, as many members of the public are, but remained professional.

“As soon as I found out though, I realised this was an opportunity to highlight exactly why this kind of result is damaging.

“This isn’t just about standing up against discrimination, I hope our stance serves as an example of exactly where this kind of judgement could lead us. Where does it end?”

Mr Xu added: "Division is being felt everywhere, and I’d sooner we all appreciated each other regardless of our differences. Our knowingly tit-for-tat stance is purely intended to highlight what this kind of judgement opens the door to."

Irish Independent

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