The public body which backed a lengthy legal battle against a Christian-owned bakery in Northern Ireland has been accused by one MP of wasting £250,000 of taxpayer...
Ashers Christian couple say 4 year legal battle was worth it
The couple who won the 'gay cake' case on Wednesday speak out about the toll of the last four years but says it's strengthened their faith in God, watch the video below.
In an interview with The Christian Institute, who backed Ashers Baking Company in the case, Daniel McArthur says the four year-long legal battle was "absolutely worth it" because they trust they were doing what God wanted them to do and "We believe that we've been following his will the whole time".
"The past four years have really strengthened my faith in God" said Amy McArthur, "I have really felt his comfort and his peace and his strength like I have never experienced before - for that alone it would have been worth it".
Daniel and Amy McArthur run a family-owned bakery business and in 2014 refused to make a cake that said 'Support Gay Marriage' on because it conflicted with their Christian faith and conscience.
A court case was initiated by the Equality Commission in Northern Ireland, who claimed that the gay man who ordered the cake, Gareth Lee, was being discriminated against.
However, the UK Supreme Court ruled that they had not discriminated on grounds of sexual orientation, religious belief or political opinion in declining the order as they had the freedom to not express an opinion they don't hold.
Judges unanimously agreed the bakery had objected to the message and not the messenger, with Justice Lady Hale saying: "They would have refused to make such a cake for any customer, irrespective of their sexual orientation."
"Their objection was to the message on the cake, not to the personal characteristics of Mr Lee or of anyone else with whom he was associated".
In the interview, filmed after the verdict, the couple speak about their personal journey to the Supreme Court, its affect on their faith and the hate they received online.
Amy said: “A lot has changed for us over the last four and a half years, we’ve had three new additions to the family, so life has definitely got busier. But God has been good and brought us through the challenges that have come with the court case.”
Daniel McArthur explained what he found difficult: "One of the hardest things as well was when whenever other Christians said they didn't think we were doing the right thing by pursuing it through the courts and we had every right to do that. God sustained us and he's given us the grace and strength that we need to come through".
He added that he was pleased because the judgement does not just affect them, but Christians across the United Kingdom.
“We’ve had letters from nearly every continent in the world. We’ve had emails constantly coming in and we’ve had hundreds of customers come into our shops and telling us that they’re there because they support us in the stand we’re taking.”
The Christian Institute’s Deputy Director for Staff and Communications, Ciarán Kelly said: “The manner in which they have conducted themselves over the last four and a half years is testament to the grace and mercy of God.”
For a timeline of the Ashers case click here.
For more details on the verdict click here.