Bakers who refused to make 'gay cake' say they felt 'victimised'

Bakers who refused to make 'gay cake' say they felt 'victimised'

Speaking in an exclusive interview, Daniel McArthur, who runs Ashers Baking Company with his wife Amy, said: "We never meant to cause anyone any offence, but at the same time, as Christians, we've certainly felt victimised by the Equality Commission of Northern Ireland."

The couple were speaking after losing an appeal against a judgment that they had discriminated against a gay activist.

Mr McArthur said: "We're disappointed with the way it went. They didn't consider how much our conscience affects us as Christians, in how we run our business, but we still believe that God is in control."

Sky's Ireland Correspondent, David Blevins, wondered how they felt about potentially being branded as "discriminatory or homophobic".

"I think whenever we've been called those names," Mr McArthur said, "the people calling them maybe don't fully grasp the arguments and what's at stake.

"Or that as Christians, how our beliefs affect every part of our lives, including running our business, and the decisions that we make in our business."

David Blevins interviews the bakers at the heart of the Northern Ireland gay cake controversyVideo:Bakers lose 'gay cake' appeal

David Blevins suggested to Daniel McArthur that some people might find it surprising that a young couple like them hold the views they do.

Mr McArthur replied: "Certainly the Bible hasn't changed, and its teachings on marriage haven't changed, and there's many other Christians our age who believe that as well."

Mrs McArthur said: "I think it's fair to say it's been a hard time, but God has been our rock, and it's just through our trust in him that we've been able to be unshaken and unmoved by it.

"He's really used this time to strengthen our faith in him, and that's only been a good thing for us as individuals, for our marriage and for our family."

The bakery refused to ice a cake with the words 'Support gay marriage'Image Caption:The bakery pulled out two days after accepting the £36.50 order

The Northern Ireland Equality Commission's Chief Commissioner, Dr Michael Wardlow, said he welcomed the decision to reject the McArthurs' appeal.

He said: "The message that goes out today is that people should be free to be able to go in and access services without having to run some lottery, to know whether or not my belief conflicts with those."

But he added: "There is a debate to be had with the faith communities to find out how we negotiate this minefield, and we're up for that, and we've already begun that process some years ago."

Meanwhile the McArthurs' received support from gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

Mr Tatchell said: "This verdict is a defeat for freedom of expression.

"As well as meaning that Ashers can be legally forced to aid the promotion of same-sex marriage against their wishes, it also implies that gay bakers could be forced by law to decorate cakes with homophobic slogans."

http://news.sky.com/story/bakers-who-refused-to-make-gay-cake-say-they-felt-victimised-10631205