Belfast Telegraph

Thousands urge Tesco to retain products

By Joanne Fleming

An online petition urging Tesco to keep stocking Ashers bakery products in Northern Ireland has attracted more than 7,000 signatures.

As of yesterday evening 7,460 people had signed the Change.Org petition, with just 40 signatures needed to reach its 7,500 target.

A rival petition calling on the supermarket to abandon the local bakery at the centre of a storm over gay marriage has so far gained just 775 supporters.

A judge recently ruled Ashers had discriminated against a gay man by refusing to bake a cake supporting gay marriage.

The judgment has been welcomed by many supporters of gay marriage but has triggered a wave of anger from Christians and freedom of conscience campaigners.

After some customers came forward to question Tesco's stocking of local Ashers bakery products in Northern Ireland, Tesco said it was to review its stock.

No decision has yet been forthcoming.

Among those signing the petition in support of Ashers was Rachael Coulter from Ballymena.

She said: "I'm signing because equality works both ways. Just like how LGBT couples have the right to love the same as straight couples, people with religious beliefs also have the right to not have these compromised. They did not refuse their services on the basis of sexual orientation or religion, they simply turned down the request from a customer to create a cake displaying a logo which was against their personal beliefs."

Terence Cadden, from Portadown, who signed, said: "It was the message not the person who was rejected."

In the petition calling on Tesco to stop selling Ashers products, Katie Dembski-Bowden, from Trillick, said: "I will not be shopping at Tesco until they get rid of anything to do with Ashers bakery... "

Aideen Reilly from Belfast commented on the petition: "Ashers still think they haven't done anything wrong."

Belfast Telegraph


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