Video: Hundreds rally for Ashers family over gay cake row
More than 300 people packed into a south Antrim hotel last night to show their support for the family at the centre of a landmark discrimination case involving a cake bearing a slogan supporting same-sex marriage.
The McArthur family - who own Ashers Bakery - is preparing to take their case to the Supreme Court, the UK's highest court.
It will sit in the Inns of Court Library at the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast - only the second time in its history that it has been held outside London.
The McArthurs will next week ask senior judges to overturn a lower court ruling that they breached equality laws by refusing to make the cake for gay activist, Gareth Lee.
Among those at the Dunadry Hotel last night were two former DUP ministers - Sammy Wilson MP and former MLA Nelson McCausland.
The bakery's Christian owners are holding a series of meetings in the run-up to the hearings, which begin next Monday.
Attendance at the series of pro-Ashers events has exceeded expectations, the organiser said, with 600 people at the Seagoe Hotel in Portadown on Monday.
A meeting in Bangor yesterday afternoon attracted more than 250 supporters.
Callum Webster of the Christian Institute, which has provided support for Ashers in the long-running legal case, said last night: "This meeting was an opportunity for people to show their support for the McArthur family as their case heads to the Supreme Court.
"It was also an opportunity to make Christians on the ground aware of the issues that are at stake - as the court case will impact many people in society, many people with family run businesses, all across society if the precedents which have been set are allowed to stand by the Supreme Court."
Mr Webster added: "I think common sense should prevail. People have different views across all spheres of society, and they get along well together.
"There was really no need for legal action, yet the Equality Commission seemed determined to do so.
"The Court of Appeal in Belfast actually upbraided the Equality Commission for their failure to engage with the faith community - particularly the McArthur family - before the case went to court.
"The legal proceedings have taken up everybody's time and inconvenienced people across all sectors of society."