The Christian couple who found themselves thrust into the limelight when their bakery refused to produce a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage message said that their own marriage is now stronger as a result.
The McArthurs, who own Ashers Baking Company, will go before the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland for a two day hearing on Wednesday and Thursday this week in a bid to overturn a decision made last year by the county court which found they had broken political and sexual orientation discrimination laws.
Amy McArthur, wife to Daniel, described the legal tribulations which they have faced as “a blessing in our marriage”.
In a statement from the Christian Institute, which has been offering legal assistance to the couple, Amy McArthur said: “God has used this to strengthen our marriage and our relationship with God.
“We have to trust in him and we have seen him answer our prayers time and time again.”
Daniel McArthur said: “Our hope and prayer would be that an appeal will allow us and other Christians to live out their faith in Jesus Christ in every part of their lives, including their workplace...
“A lesson we’ve learned is that at the start yes we were worried and anxious. But if you came to me and you said would we go through it again, I would say yes.
“And I would say to other Christians facing pressure at work or in public life don’t be afraid to take your Christian stand because we’ve learned God is with you in all of it and he gives you the grace to stand against these trials and challenges.”
The Christian Institute said Ashers has “suffered some minor acts of vandalism on their premises” (which include a headquarters on the western edge of Newtownabbey, and a string of bakery shops around the region) since the case first came to light, but that the company has not suffered financially.
Mrs McArthur’s statement continued: “We found out we were going to court the week Elia was born that was a particularly difficult time.
“Day to day, I’m usually so busy changing nappies and wiping runny noses I don’t think about it too much although it’s always at the back of my mind.
“I found the court case a difficult time. I would be quite shy and was very out of my comfort zone. In the clips outside the courthouse I was incredibly nervous but God has not promised us a comfortable life.
“He has said he will never leave or forsake us and in the most uncomfortable circumstances I have found that to be true. He gave me the strength just when I needed it.”
Mr McArthur said it is “really encouraging” to hear about people – many of whom the family does not know – supporting them.