Northern Ireland

Ashers 'gay cake': Reaction to court ruling that refusal was discrimination

Gareth Lee outside Laganside Court, Belfast Image copyright PAcemaker Press
Image caption Gareth Lee outside Laganside Court after a judge found Ashers Baking Company guilty of discrimination

A judge has ruled that a Christian-run bakery discriminated against a gay customer by refusing to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan.

Ashers Baking Company, based in County Antrim, was taken to court by a gay rights activist, assisted by Northern Ireland's Equality Commission.

There was a wide range of reaction to the judge's ruling.

First Minister Peter Robinson

"I'm not terribly surprised. In many ways, that's why we were preparing a legislating alternative.

"I think the term 'reasonable accommodation' is now what we would like to frame some legislation around, recognising that there are rights on both sides."

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, on Twitter

"Ashers bakery judgement a good result for equality. Gay people have for far too long been discriminated against. We and the law on their side."

David McIlveen DUP, on Twitter

"Utterly sickened that a Christian-owned business has been hauled over the coals for refusing to promote something that is not legal in Northern Ireland."

SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood, on Twitter

"Today's judgment is a welcome and refortifying of our hard-won equality laws."

Sinn Féin MLA Catriona Ruane

"It is a good day for equality and a good day for everyone in our society."

John O'Doherty, The Rainbow Project

"The judge clearly articulated that this is direct discrimination for which there can be no justification."

The Green Party NI, on Twitter

"Let us now move forward to rebuild relationships with the LGBQT community."

DUP MLA Paul Givan

"What we cannot have is a hierarchy of rights, and today there's a clear hierarchy being established that gay rights are more important than the rights of people to hold religious beliefs."

Jim Allister TUV

"It is a dark day for justice and religious freedom in Northern Ireland."

Peter Lynas, director of Evangelical Alliance

"This judgment will cause great concern for all those in business. It turns out the customer is always right and businesses have no discretion in deciding which goods and services to produce. The law rightly protects people from discrimination, but it has now extended that protection to ideas."