The decision of the Equality Commission to press a court case against Northern Ireland’s Ashers Baking Co. is both surprising and worrying, the Evangelical Alliance has said.
In a statement, spokesman Peter Lynas condemned the decision to prosecute the bakery, which earlier this year apologised to a customer because, as a Christian-run family business, it could not with good conscience create a cake designed to support gay marriage.
Mr Lynas said, ‘The Commission now claims Ashers is guilty of religious and political discrimination, as well as the original grounds of sexual orientation. This should concern everyone, not just Christians. It is a challenge to the very fabric of Northern Ireland society. We are talking about the loss of religious and political freedom.
‘This is an attempt to privatise religion and exclude it from the public square. The Commission is deciding which political and religious views are acceptable and which are not’.
Ashers has claimed it was against the ideology behind the cake, not the people asking for it, but the Commission appears to be arguing that certain views on same-sex marriage may be grounds for political discrimination.
Mr Lynas added: ‘The Commission is accusing Ashers of religious discrimination, as their decision was motivated by their faith. This is a clear attempt to remove faith from the workplace. It is simply unbelievable that the Equality Commission is taking such steps’.