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The owners of Ashers Baking Company have announced plans to appeal last week’s judgment. A court ruled that the business discriminated against a customer by declining to decorate a pro-gay marriage campaign cake. The McArthur family refused to decorate the cake because of their firmly-held belief that marriage is between one man and one woman. But last week Judge Brownlie ruled that Ashers broke political and sexual orientation discrimination laws, and fined the business £500. Now the...

Same-sex marriage has been backed in Ireland, after nearly 2 million people voted in Friday’s referendum. But it was not the walkover some predicted. Turnout was 60.1 per cent, with 62.1 per cent supporting the change and 37.9 per cent opposing. 734,300 people voted ‘No’ to redefining marriage. ‘No’ to a change that radically alters the understanding of the word “marriage”. ‘No’ to a change which could lead to young children learning about gay marriage in storybooks at...

Voters in the Republic of Ireland have the opportunity today to stand up for marriage. It’s been a heated few months leading up to this referendum, with intimidation tactics from ‘Yes’ campaigners being made public. In April, photos appeared on social media of pro-traditional marriage posters being torn down. A group of MEPs have even asked the President of the European Parliament to intervene in the referendum, saying the vote has been “seriously compromised” – they highlighted...

Only yesterday we shared how editorials at the Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Express and the Belfast Telegraph expressed serious concern about the Ashers bakery ruling. But the criticism for the ruling just keeps on coming. In The Spectator, Melanie McDonagh spots the “simply astonishing” idea that workers at Ashers should be obliged to take part, “through their icing bags”, in promoting gay marriage. She said: “As Daniel McArthur, the general manager of Ashers, correctly...

Even those who would normally entirely disagree with the Coalition for Marriage are very concerned by this week’s ruling against Ashers Baking Company. The bakery was fined by a County Court judge for declining an order for a cake decorated with a pro-gay marriage campaign slogan. Writing in the Belfast Telegraph, pro-LGBT broadcaster Fionola Meredith said the ruling was about “silencing and punishing those who refuse to sign up to a clearly-flawed ‘equality’ agenda”. “If Ashers...

Commentators in the Irish press are increasingly waking up to the fact that redefining marriage in the country will result in true marriage supporters being punished for their beliefs. Paddy Monaghan of the Irish Times described the referendum as a “David and Goliath struggle for the soul of Ireland”, noting that a Yes vote would have far-reaching implications for teachers, marriage registrars and adoption agencies. He recognises the sad truth that since Great Britain legislated for gay...

It’s not every day that national newspapers unite in raising concerns about a legal case involving cake. But Tuesday was not an average day. It was the day when a family were told they had discriminated by acting on their beliefs about marriage. Ashers Baking Company may have lost in the courts, but with The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express lining up to write sympathetic editorials, and letter pages overflowing with the comments of supportive readers, perhaps they are...

Attention has been drawn to the intimidation and vitriol of the Yes campaign in Ireland ahead of the gay marriage referendum on Friday. Writing for the Irish Independent, journalist John Waters said his family have had to deal with a backlash after he was accused of being homophobic on a TV talk show: “In all my years observing and writing about the political life of Ireland, I have never encountered anything like the venom of the baying mob that descended on me afterwards”. He said what he...

Responding to yesterday’s ruling on Ashers Baking Company, Dr Sharon James said: “This is a deeply concerning judgment. “Judge Brownlie has said that Ashers Baking Company discriminated against Gareth Lee for declining to decorate a cake with a slogan in support of gay marriage. “She found that the company – which is owned by the McArthur family – had breached laws on sexual orientation and political discrimination. “But this was never about Mr Lee’s sexual orientation...

Today is a sad day for supporters of marriage. It’s a very disappointing day for the family-run Ashers Baking Company in Northern Ireland. And it’s a day when those seeking to coerce people to say something they don’t believe in have secured a victory. Today Judge Brownlie ruled against the McArthur family – owners of Ashers Baking Co – for declining to produce a cake with a pro-gay marriage campaign slogan. Judge Brownlie accepted arguments from the Equality...

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