Timeline of Ashers gay cake row

The image which Asher's Bakery refused to print on the cake for a Queerspace campaigner
The image which Asher's Bakery refused to print on the cake for a Queerspace campaigner

May 2014 - The cake order, which was made by Gareth Lee, an activist with the gay rights group Queerspace, was placed on Friday, May 9 at the bakery’s Royal Avenue outlet in central Belfast.

He requested a cake with an image of the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie, alongside the group’s logo and the words ‘Support gay marriage’.

On May 11 the cake order is cancelled by the bakery saying to make the cake would contradict their religious beliefs.

“We knew that we didn’t support gay marriage and we knew it contradicted what we believed and what the Bible taught,” Daniel McArthur, the general manager of Ashers Baking Company later told the News Letter.

June 26 2014 - The Equality Commision for Northern Ireland writes to the bakery to demand that it come forward with “proposals to remedy your unlawful discrimination”.

July 9 - Bakery manager tells News Letter ‘Equality quango asked no questions ‘before condemning us’

July 10 - DUP MP Gregory Campbell makes a call in Westminster for a change in the law to protect religious freedom following the legal threat to Ashers

July 11 - Petition to leave bakery alone gather pace

July 18 - The Equality Commission’s case against Ashers Bakery could cost taxpayers more than £30,000, lawyers defending the case estimate.

August 1 - The new junior minister at the Northern Ireland Office said businesses have to obey equality laws — even if they oppose gay marriage for religious reasons.

September 23 - A News Letter Freedom of Information request reveals the Equality Commission only took advice from a senior barrister after it had threatened legal action against a bakery which refused to make a pro-gay marriage cake.

November 5 - Ashers manager Daniel McArthur said he had now received a letter from the Equality Commission claiming his stance breached legislation and if it did not offer compensation within seven days it would face litigation.

November 10 - Ashers’ stance receives support from Churches

December 8 - DUP MLA Paul Givan formally launched a Private Member’s Bill at Stormont that, if made law, would create a legal clause that would allow the refusal of goods and services on the grounds of strongly held religious beliefs.