THE Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland welcomes the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court in favour of Ashers Bakery.
Ashers Bakery contended throughout the legal process that they did not have a policy of refusing to provide goods and services to certain sections of the public on the basis of their sexual orientation, religious belief or political opinion, and that their refusal to produce a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan was on the basis that the slogan conflicted with their Christian beliefs.
The judgment confirms that Ashers Bakery did not discriminate against Gareth Lee on the basis of his sexual orientation, religious belief, or political opinion. As stated by Lady Hale: "Their (Ashers') objection was to the message on the cake, not to the personal characteristics of Mr Lee. They would have refused to make such a cake for any customer, irrespective of their sexual orientation."
On this occasion, the right to the exercise of Christian conscience in business has been protected. But in other cases, it has not. We commend the patient endurance shown by the McArthur family, Ashers Bakery's owners, which has been a powerful example and witness. We are thankful for organisations such as the Christian Institute, which provided much-needed support to Ashers Bakery in its legal defence.
We are thankful for the significant number of Christians attending meetings organised by the Christian Institute to raise awareness and show support to the McArthur family and others like them.
And we are thankful for the assurance that God will guard, guide, comfort and sustain us when we are under attack for his cause.
REV PHILIP DUNWOODY
Public morals committee
Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland