The Equality Commission has claimed that the media have been distributing ‘misinformation’ by airing claims that the Ashers case amounts to the curbing of religious people’s freedoms.
The message came in a statement made as plaintiff Gareth Lee arrived at court accompanied by the Equality Commission’s chief commissioner, Dr Michael Wardlow.
Mr Wardlow said if the ruling was overturned it would raise “all sorts of issues about the protection of minorities”.
“There has been a lot of misinformation in the media that somehow this about closing down religious expression, that faith has to be left at the door of the workplace and that is not true,” he said.
“Religious freedom is enshrined in the legislation. The problem is although freedom to believe is absolute, freedom to express that belief is always limited, because if by expressing that belief you discriminate against others then the law must intervene.
“So this is not simply about some form of religious intolerance or closing down of Christian expression because in all of this the other person who has a right in this, who seems to have been forgotten, is Gareth.
“So I would like this to be seen for what it is - this is about if you enter into the public domain and choose to trade as a commercial enterprise you are ruled by the laws of the land.”