The Ashers bakery court case was yesterday told that the outcome is about fundamental democratic pillars such as freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.
Setting out the bakery’s defence on the second day of a case brought after it cancelled an order for a ‘support gay marriage’ cake, David Scoffield QC for the bakery said that the case has nothing to do with sexual orientation.
The barrister argued that to force people of faith to abandon their Christian beliefs as soon as they enter their workplace, on pain of being taken to court if they do not do so, would be “the antithesis of democracy”.
He said that the plaintiff’s case was effectively that “when the McArthurs put on their baker’s apron...they must effectively forget the religious beliefs that form the core of who they are”.
Earlier three members of the McArthur family who own the business gave evidence and were cross-examined.
Colin McArthur, who founded the business, recalled to Belfast County Court how his wife had been “deeply troubled” after taking the cake order. He said they had not discussed “the legal ins and outs of it”, but rather “how we could stand before God [after] baking a cake like this or endorsing a cause like this”.
At the conclusion of her evidence, Mrs McArthur appeared emotional. After she returned to her seat, she held the hand of her husband as their son Daniel stepped forward to enter the witness box.
Full coverage of day two of the Ashers case
Ashers: quango ‘demanded capitulation’
Ashers ‘neither knew nor cared’ about cake customer’s sexuality
Ashers: case runs into third day
Ashers: McArthurs pressed on Halloween cakes
Political candidate’s comparison between Ashers supporters and Nazis under fire