'I like their baking, but not the taste of homophobia'
The clash between gay rights and Christian convictions is one which has long divided people – and opinions were again split outside the Belfast city centre branch of Ashers bakery yesterday.
The outlet on Royal Avenue was packed with customers yesterday lunchtime despite the unfolding controversy.
Several said they would not return after learning of the row.
However, others said they had made a deliberate decision to visit the branch to show support for the owners. Frankie Quinn said it was damaging to the firm's image: "I'll not be buying out of Ashers again, they've lost my business," he said.
"There is enough intolerance in society without deciding who you can or can't bake a cake for. People are entitled to their view, I accept that, but I am also entitled not to shop there."
Alice Fabuloso, from Holywood, with daughter Maisie, said she would not return to the bakery. "I like their baking but I don't like the taste of homophobia," she said. "It is their job to bake cakes – not to pass judgment."
Laura McLarnon, who is from Lisburn, said: "I don't think someone's sexuality should make any difference.
"You can follow whatever religion you want, but you cannot expect others to follow suit, or reject orders simply because they don't match your beliefs." However, another man said he had purchased items to show support for Ashers.
"People are missing the point as to why this was refused – the cake was part of a pro-gay political campaign, it wasn't as if it was just a cake," he said.
"It should be up to the business itself because if they support one campaign, they risk alienating other customers."
Another man said he was "100% in support" of the company.
"Martin Luther said his conscience was captive to the word of God – and this is a matter of conscience. For any society to suppress liberty of conscience is tantamount to dictatorship."