Gay columnist: Bakers’ freedom of conscience, religion should be protected

Gay columnist: Bakers’ freedom of conscience, religion should be protected
(Image via The American Genius)

[Ed. – This op-ed is about a case in Northern Ireland, not the U.S.  But the situation is the same as the case of the Oregon bakery (Sweet Cakes by Melissa), and Peter Tatchell is dead on in his conclusion.]

Like most gay and equality campaigners, I initially condemned the Christian-run Ashers Bakery in Belfast over its refusal to produce a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan for a gay customer, Gareth Lee. I supported his legal claim against Ashers and the subsequent verdict – the bakery was found guilty of discrimination last year. Now, two days before the case goes to appeal, I have changed my mind. Much as I wish to defend the gay community, I also want to defend freedom of conscience, expression and religion. …

[T]he court erred by ruling that Lee was discriminated against because of his sexual orientation and political opinions.  [Exactly! – Ed.]

His cake request was refused not because he was gay, but because of the message he asked for. There is no evidence that his sexuality was the reason Ashers declined his order. Despite this, Judge Isobel Brownlie said that refusing the pro-gay marriage slogan was unlawful indirect sexual orientation discrimination. …

This finding of political discrimination against Lee sets a worrying precedent.

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