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Gay cake case: Churches united in criticism of 'dangerous' Ashers bakery decision

In Pictures: Ashers gay cake court battle in Belfast Close

Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his wife Amy in October. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his wife Amy in October. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Daniel McArthur of Ashers with his wife Amy and parents pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast after the judgement was given. 
Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Daniel McArthur of Ashers with his wife Amy and parents pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast after the judgement was given. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Daniel and Amy McArthur of Ashers Baking Company speak to the media at Belfast High Court, as judgment is due to be delivered on an appeal brought by the Christian bakers who were found to have discriminated against gay man Gareth Lee. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Daniel and Amy McArthur of Ashers Baking Company speak to the media at Belfast High Court, as judgment is due to be delivered on an appeal brought by the Christian bakers who were found to have discriminated against gay man Gareth Lee. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

PA

Gareth Lee(left) and Dr. Michael Wardlow, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Equality Commission pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast after the judgement was given. 
Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Gareth Lee(left) and Dr. Michael Wardlow, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Equality Commission pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast after the judgement was given. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Gareth Lee(left) and Dr. Michael Wardlow, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Equality Commission pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast after the judgement was given. 
Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Gareth Lee(left) and Dr. Michael Wardlow, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Equality Commission pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast after the judgement was given. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Daniel McArthur of Ashers and his wife Amy pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast after the judgement was given. 
Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Daniel McArthur of Ashers and his wife Amy pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast after the judgement was given. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Gareth Lee pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast after the judgement was given. 
Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Gareth Lee pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast after the judgement was given. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Daniel McArthur of Ashers pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast after the judgement was given. 
Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Daniel McArthur of Ashers pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast after the judgement was given. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Judgement due on 'gay cake' appeal for Ashers Bakery.  Two years ago, the family-run firm refused to make a cake for gay rights activist Gareth Lee with the slogan "Support Gay Marriage" leading to a judge ruling the Christian owners of Ashers had discriminated against him.
Daniel McArthur of Ashers and his wife Amy arrive at the High Court in Belfast to hear the appeal. 
Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Judgement due on 'gay cake' appeal for Ashers Bakery. Two years ago, the family-run firm refused to make a cake for gay rights activist Gareth Lee with the slogan "Support Gay Marriage" leading to a judge ruling the Christian owners of Ashers had discriminated against him. Daniel McArthur of Ashers and his wife Amy arrive at the High Court in Belfast to hear the appeal. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Judgement due on 'gay cake' appeal for Ashers Bakery.  Two years ago, the family-run firm refused to make a cake for gay rights activist Gareth Lee with the slogan "Support Gay Marriage" leading to a judge ruling the Christian owners of Ashers had discriminated against him.
Gareth Lee(left) and Dr. Michael Wardlow, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Equality Commission arrives at the High Court in Belfast to hear the appeal. 
Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Judgement due on 'gay cake' appeal for Ashers Bakery. Two years ago, the family-run firm refused to make a cake for gay rights activist Gareth Lee with the slogan "Support Gay Marriage" leading to a judge ruling the Christian owners of Ashers had discriminated against him. Gareth Lee(left) and Dr. Michael Wardlow, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Equality Commission arrives at the High Court in Belfast to hear the appeal. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Daniel McArthur (L), managing director of Ashers Bakery and his wife Amy McArthur (R) hold a press conference as they outside Belfast high court alongside family members for the so called 'Gay Cake' case verdict on October 24, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Daniel McArthur (L), managing director of Ashers Bakery and his wife Amy McArthur (R) hold a press conference as they outside Belfast high court alongside family members for the so called 'Gay Cake' case verdict on October 24, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

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Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy arrive at court for the verdict.

Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy arrive at court for the verdict.

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Gay rights activist Gareth Lee outside Laganside Court , A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Gay rights activist Gareth Lee outside Laganside Court , A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Gay rights activist Gareth Lee outside Laganside Court , A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Gay rights activist Gareth Lee outside Laganside Court , A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Gay rights activist Gareth Lee outside Laganside Court , A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Gay rights activist Gareth Lee outside Laganside Court , A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Gay rights activist Gareth Lee gets a hug from a friend outside Laganside Court , A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Gay rights activist Gareth Lee gets a hug from a friend outside Laganside Court , A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Gay rights activist Gareth Lee gets a hug from a friend outside Laganside Court , A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Gay rights activist Gareth Lee gets a hug from a friend outside Laganside Court , A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Dr Michael Wardlow(left() from the Equality Commission and Gareth Lee(centre) pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Dr Michael Wardlow(left() from the Equality Commission and Gareth Lee(centre) pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  The DUP's Paul Givan(second from right) and Edwin Poots(second from left) pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. The DUP's Paul Givan(second from right) and Edwin Poots(second from left) pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy arrive at court for the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy arrive at court for the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy arrive at court for the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy arrive at court for the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy arrive at court for the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy arrive at court for the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy arrive at court for the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy arrive at court for the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Gareth Lee(centre) pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Gareth Lee(centre) pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Gareth Lee(right) pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Gareth Lee(right) pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Gareth Lee(centre) pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Gareth Lee(centre) pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Gareth Lee receives a hug outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Gareth Lee receives a hug outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Pacemaker Press 26/3/2015
Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his family  on thursday, Ashers  face a discrimination case supported by the Equality Commission, after a  dispute began when the Christian-run bakery refused a request to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 26/3/2015 Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his family on thursday, Ashers face a discrimination case supported by the Equality Commission, after a dispute began when the Christian-run bakery refused a request to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Daniel and Amy McArthur arrive at Laganside Court yesterday morning

Daniel and Amy McArthur arrive at Laganside Court yesterday morning

Ashers' Daniel McArthur with his wife Amy and his parents Colin and Karen behind leave Laganside Court after the case finished

Ashers' Daniel McArthur with his wife Amy and his parents Colin and Karen behind leave Laganside Court after the case finished

Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his family. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his family. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Daniel McArthur, general manager of Asher's Bakery gives a statement to the media before entering court

Daniel McArthur, general manager of Asher's Bakery gives a statement to the media before entering court

Getty Images

While not identical to the Ashers’ gay cake controversy, this story touches on some of the same themes and dilemmas

While not identical to the Ashers’ gay cake controversy, this story touches on some of the same themes and dilemmas

Getty Images

Ashers bakery boss Daniel McArthur at Belfast Court. Pic Mark Simpson BBC

Ashers bakery boss Daniel McArthur at Belfast Court. Pic Mark Simpson BBC

Ashers bakery boss Daniel McArthur at Belfast Court. Pic Mark Simpson BBC

More than 2,000 people pack the Waterfront Hall to show support for Ashers bakery

More than 2,000 people pack the Waterfront Hall to show support for Ashers bakery

Gareth Lee, whose lawyer put his side of the case to the court yesterday

Gareth Lee, whose lawyer put his side of the case to the court yesterday

Daniel and Amy McArthur arriving at Belfast County Court to fight a challenge by Northern Ireland's Equality Commission following their refusal to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan. David Young/PA Wire

Daniel and Amy McArthur arriving at Belfast County Court to fight a challenge by Northern Ireland's Equality Commission following their refusal to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan. David Young/PA Wire

PA

The cake at the centre of the Ashers row

The cake at the centre of the Ashers row

Pacemaker Press 26/3/2015
Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his wife Amy  on thursday, Ashers  face a discrimination case supported by the Equality Commission, after a  dispute began when the Christian-run bakery refused a request to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 26/3/2015 Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his wife Amy on thursday, Ashers face a discrimination case supported by the Equality Commission, after a dispute began when the Christian-run bakery refused a request to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 26/3/2015
Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his family  on thursday, Ashers  face a discrimination case supported by the Equality Commission, after a  dispute began when the Christian-run bakery refused a request to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 26/3/2015 Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his family on thursday, Ashers face a discrimination case supported by the Equality Commission, after a dispute began when the Christian-run bakery refused a request to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Christian Institute support rally for Ashers bakery held at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. Photograph: Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

Christian Institute support rally for Ashers bakery held at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. Photograph: Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

Christian Institute support rally for Ashers bakery held at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. Photograph: Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

Christian Institute support rally for Ashers bakery held at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. Photograph: Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

Pacemaker Press 26/3/2015
Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his family  on thursday, Ashers  face a discrimination case supported by the Equality Commission, after a  dispute began when the Christian-run bakery refused a request to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 26/3/2015 Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his family on thursday, Ashers face a discrimination case supported by the Equality Commission, after a dispute began when the Christian-run bakery refused a request to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Daniel and Amy McArthur with their baby daughter Elia

Daniel and Amy McArthur with their baby daughter Elia

Christian Institute support rally for Ashers bakery held at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. In attendance is the DUP's Sammy Wilson. Photograph:Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

Christian Institute support rally for Ashers bakery held at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. In attendance is the DUP's Sammy Wilson. Photograph:Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

The Ashers Baking Co outlet in Belfast’s Royal Avenue

The Ashers Baking Co outlet in Belfast’s Royal Avenue

Mayor Andrew Muir cutting a Sesame Street Bert and Ernie 'Support Gay Marriage' cake

Mayor Andrew Muir cutting a Sesame Street Bert and Ernie 'Support Gay Marriage' cake

Photopress Belfast

/

Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his wife Amy in October. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Church leaders have united to voice their concerns over the implications of the Ashers court ruling.

After a judge said religious beliefs could not dictate the law, clerics warned the decision could set a dangerous precedent.

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland said it should profoundly concern everyone who wants a genuinely pluralist society.

Former Moderator Dr Norman Hamilton added: "Such levels of state control are surely contrary to the freedoms and liberties that we should seek to uphold.

"It is clear that the law needs to be changed. In a pluralist society, the law should protect everyone from discrimination while properly valuing the role of conscience.

"No one should be treated as a second-class citizen as we are all created with equal worth in the eyes of God."

The Presbyterian Church has backed a 'reasonable accommodation' concept in law.

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Dr Hamilton added: "Whilst we recognise that this case has been a lengthy and painful experience for all of those directly involved, and troubling for wider society, we believe that there is an urgent need for an informed discussion about the role of conscience in the public square."

The Church of Ireland said that the ruling raised many important questions for society.

Rev Adrian Dorrian, Rector of St Mark's in east Belfast, added: "It is of some concern that the freedom of religious conscience that the law affords to all people may have been called into question.

"The owners of the baking company were upholding their adherence to the traditional Christian view on marriage.

"It is of real concern that a choice made by the owners of a business has been branded discriminatory and made the subject of legal action. Our society needs a debate around reasonable accommodation of differing opinion."

Henry Hull, the Dean of Down, wrote on Twitter he was "deeply disturbed" by the ruling. "Where is the freedom to follow Christian belief in an increasingly secular state?" he asked.

The Methodist Church said it noted the judgment with concern. Rev Dr David Clements added: "We have sympathy with the owners of Ashers bakery. If they are now compelled by the law to make products that conflict with their Christian conscience, this raises important issues."

The Free Presbyterian Church said the judgment followed "a ruinous trend" of pro-gay moves.

"Over the course of many years, the parliaments and courtrooms of our nation have increasingly legislated for sin and against righteousness," it added in a statement.

"Even allowing for this ruinous trend does not help us to understand how a judge in Belfast can reach a verdict that rules in favour of the promotion of an activity - same-sex marriage - that, by four successive votes in our legislative assembly, remains illegal in Northern Ireland."

The Catholic church was contacted for comment but did not respond.

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