A bakery in Northern Ireland is facing criticism after it refused to make an engagement cake with a pro-marriage equality slogan for a gay couple.
Ashers bakery rejected the cake order of Grainne McCann, a friend of engaged couple Joe Palmer and Andy Wong. The London native ordered and paid for the cake online, only to have the request denied the next day.
“The wording we requested was ’Gay marriage rocks! Happy engagement, Andy and Joe! Lots of love xxx,'” she told Sunday Life. “We were thrilled when Ashers accepted our online order, and full payment of £23.40 plus £20 P&P, but the next day they sent the cancellation note and a refund.”
“My gut instinct told me the cake was refused because it celebrated gay marriage.”
To prove her point, she then ordered a christening cake for her goddaughter Leila, which the bakery was more than happy to make.
“A woman from the company even offered to drive it to its destination in Dublin as a favor because she was going that way,” McCann added. “This was terribly kind, but I felt angry and sad that Ashers’ attitude to gay people is so different.”
McCann quickly switched gears and ordered the cake from a London baker, who gladly prepared the confection for the couple.
“Obviously, if someone wanted a racist cake for an English Defense League meeting, we’d say no, but I don’t have the right to judge others’ views unless they’re illegal,” said Londoncakes.com owner Graham Brooks, who baked the cake for Palmer and Wong.
This is the second time the evangelical Christian bakery has landed in hot water for refusing to work with LGBT customers.
In October, judges upheld a finding that owners Daniel and Amy McArthur had discriminated against a man on the basis of sexual orientation after he ordered a cake to commemorate International Day Against Homophobia.
Though Palmer and Wong were saddened by the bakery’s refusal to work with McCann, they’re choosing celebrate the love of family and friends in the weeks before their nuptials.
“In my view, by turning away business based on the sexual orientation of the consumer they risk being sued again,” McCann said.
“My friends and I don’t want to sue—Andy and Joe want to focus on their forthcoming happy day—but others might want to take action.”