Actor, TV presenter, and fierce critic of the DUP’s opposition to same-sex marriage, Stephen Fry has apparently backed Peter Tatchell’s welcome for the Ashers ‘gay cake’ verdict.
Following the Supreme Court ruling in favour of the Christian-owned bakery on Wednesday, LGBT+ rights campaigner Mr Tatchell tweeted: “Ashers ‘gay cake’ verdict is victory for freedom of expression. The law should not compel businesses to aid political messages.”
In response, Mr Fry tweeted “Agreed!” to his 12.8 million followers – a position seemingly at odds with his stance in 2014 when he expressed serious concerns over a DUP-proposed ‘conscience clause’ in equality legislation – allowing orders to be refused on religious grounds.
As the DUP progressed its conscience clause bill through the Assembly, Mr Fry urged people to sign an online petition opposing the legislation which he described as “sick”.
He said: “Once again the religious right twisting truth to present themselves as victims,” and added that “to be slammed by the bigots of the DUP is to be bathed in light and kissed by angels”.
Following Wednesday’s judgment, Mr Tatchell described the ‘gay cake’ ruling as a “victory”.
Mr Tatchell, who runs an organisation dedicated to human rights, said the Supreme Court ruling “means that gay bakers cannot be compelled by law to decorate cakes with anti-gay marriage slogans,” and added: “This verdict is a victory for freedom of expression.”
Mr Fry apparently expressing support to the Tatchell position angered a number of Twitter users.
One responded saying: “Northern Ireland LGBT+ people are being slammed by the DUP because of this decision. If a company can reject ‘Support Same Sex Marriage’ who will print our t-shirts, banners & leaflets in NI? Who will host our websites? Who will let us use their venues? A dark day for NI equality.”
Others also objected to the stance taken by the two men.
One said: “Sorry to disagree but I think it just gives the green light to discrimination against LGBT’s”
Others tweeted: “Oh dear! You of all people, Stephen!” and: “It opens the door to businesses discriminating against gay people as every hostile Christian B&B owner and others will now be quick to fall back on the Supreme Court judgement to argue their right to withhold their services to 2 guys who just want a double bed for the night.”