Christian bakery refuses Sesame Street “gay cake”

A Christian-run bakery in Northern Ireland is facing legal action for refusing to bake a cake featuring the characters Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street and a slogan which read "support gay marriage".

Ashers Baking Co, based in Newtonabbey, cancelled a customer's order for the cake saying that its endorsement for same-sex marriage went against its directors' religious beliefs.
The cake also carried the logo of gay rights group QueerSpace.

However, the Equality Commission of Northern Ireland has written to the bakery to tell it that it is breaking the law and has ordered it to "remedy your illegal discrimination" within seven days or be taken to court.

It said that refusing to produce the cake amounted to discrimination on grounds of the sexual orientation of Gareth Lee, the LGBT activist who placed the order for the cake.

The Christian Institute which is supporting the bakery claimed that it was not illegal to refuse to bake a cake which carried a political message.

Unlike the rest of the United Kingdom gay marriage is not legal in Northern Ireland.

Ashers' manager said that the company was unable to bake the cake as it clashed with the directors' belief that marriage can only be between one man and one woman.

"We are Christians and our Christianity reaches to every point of our lives, whether that's at home or in the day-to-day running of the business," he said.

Explaining why they decided not to fulfill the order, he said: "We thought that this order was at odds with our beliefs, certainly was in contradiction with what the Bible teaches."

It has long been speculated in some circles that Bert and Ernie are, in fact, gay.