Let Ashers bake what it wants – gay people in Northern Ireland like me need marriage equality more than their cakes

Posted by On 8:00 AM

Let Ashers bake what it wants â€" gay people in Northern Ireland like me need marriage equality more than their cakes

The owners of Ashers bakery in Belfast have won their appeal at the Supreme Court this morning, after a “gay cake” row which has run on for years.

The court ruled that when the business refused to bake a cake bearing a slogan in support of same-sex marriage, it did not discriminate against the customer on the grounds of their sexual orientation â€" their issue was simply with the message being promoted.

We could argue until we’re blue in the teeth about the true beliefs or motivations of this business, but ultimately, the courts hav e given it the benefit of the doubt that it would have served a gay man any other cake.

As a gay man from Northern Ireland, of course I feel disappointed by this story. It doesn’t feel nice to know there are people out there who don’t believe in your right to be equal. But fighting Ashers is not going to make things better.

In the grand scheme of things, I fear this story is simply a distraction in the culture wars which detract from practical political progress.

When I got married this summer, I did it in the Republic of Ireland, because same-sex marriage is not yet legal in Northern Ireland. But Ashers isn’t to blame for this â€" the DUP is.

leftCreated with Sketch. rightCreated with Sketch. ShapeCreated with Sketch.Pride Month around the globe

1/16

Thousands take to streets of Sao Paulo to join the Pride Parade on June 3rd Reuters

2/16

A bulldog is dressed for the occasion at the Pride Parade in Queens, New York on June 3rd Reuters

3/16

A reveller in a unicorn mask watches on as the Baltic Pride Parade passes by in Riga, Latvia EPA

4/16

Rome's Pride Parade passes the Colosseum AP

5/16

The US and the Republic of Ireland marked the beginning of Pride Month by incorporating the rainbow into their kits at an international friendly in Dublin on June 2nd Reuters

6/16

A marching band takes part in the annual Pride Parade in Athens on June 9th AFP/Getty

7/16

Pride is celebrated at the annual parade in San Juan, Puerto Rico on June 3rd AFP/Getty

8/16

Taylor Swift marked the beginning of Pride Month with a speech at her Chicago concert on June 1st. She s"It's very brave to be vulnerable about your feelings in any situation, but it's even more brave to be honest about your feelings and who you love when you know that it might be met with adversity from society," Getty

9/16

Members of the RAF await the start of the Pride Parade in York on June 9th Getty

10/16

Pride is celebrated with a great many balloons at the 11th Pride Parade in Sofia, Bulgaria on June 9th AFP/Getty

11/16

Pride is celebrated in the streets of Tel Aviv, Israel on June 8th EPA

12/16

Thousands take to streets of Sao Paulo to join the Pride Parade on June 3rd EPA

13/16

US players mark Pride Month by wearing rainbow coloured numbers on their shirts in an i nternational football friendly against France Reuters

14/16

Thousands take to streets of Sao Paulo to join the Pride Parade on June 3rd Reuters

15/16

Pride is celebrated at the parade in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico on June 10th AFP/Getty

16/16

Great Western Railway, which covers England's West Country, unveils a Pride train at Paddington station on June 7th Getty

1/16

Thousands take to streets of Sao Paulo to join the Pride Parade on June 3rd Reuters

2/16

A bulldog is dressed for the occasion at the Pride Parade in Queens, New York on June 3rd Reuters

3/16

A reveller in a unicorn mask watches on as the Baltic Pride Parade passes by in Riga, Latvia EPA

4/16

Rome's Pride Parade passes the Colosseum AP

5/16

The US and the Republic of Ireland marked the beginning of Pride Month by incorporating the rainbow into their kits at an international friendly in Dublin on June 2nd Reuters

6/16

A marching band takes part i n the annual Pride Parade in Athens on June 9th AFP/Getty

7/16

Pride is celebrated at the annual parade in San Juan, Puerto Rico on June 3rd AFP/Getty

8/16

Taylor Swift marked the beginning of Pride Month with a speech at her Chicago concert on June 1st. She s"It's very brave to be vulnerable about your feelings in any situation, but it's even more brave to be honest about your feelings and who you love when you know that it might be met with adversity from society," Getty

9/16

Members of the RAF await the start of the Pride Parade in York on June 9th Getty

10/16

Pride is celebrated with a great many balloons at the 11th Pride Parade in Sofia, Bulgaria on June 9th AFP/Getty

11/16

Pride is celebrated in the streets of Tel Aviv, Israel on June 8th EPA

12/16

Thousands take to streets of Sao Paulo to join the Pride Parade on June 3rd EPA

13/16

US players mark Pride Month by wearing rainbow coloured numbers on their shirts in an international football friendly against France Reuters

14/16

Thousands take to streets of Sao Paulo to join the Pride Parade on June 3rd Reuters

15/16

Pride is celebrated at the parade in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico on June 10th AFP/Getty

16/16

Great Western Railway, which covers England's West Country, unveils a Pride train at Paddington station on June 7th Getty

Last week, when Owen Jones put it to party leader Arlene Foster that her opposition to same-sex marriage was out of step with a majority of people in Northern Ireland, she responded with a wry smile: “That could well be the case.”

It very well is the case. The last poll showed 76 per cent of people wanted same-sex marriage made legal.

Foster and Ashers are both out of step with the political will of the people, but one can be far more easily ignored than the other. They may be cut from the same cloth, but only one of them is blocking me from my equal rights. Let’s not lose sight of that.

I am aware that changing society will ultimately change politics, but forcing businesses to support LGBT+ causes is not a hearts-and-minds winner. As we have seen, it merely hardens them against us, and turns them into martyrs for what they perceive as an inverted persecution.

Besides, who wants to give their hard-earned money to people who don’t believe we have the right to equal marriage?

Let Ashers bake whatever kind of cakes it wants, for it merely shows the owners up as the kind of people they really are. And while “Christian” may be their preferred adjective, their compassion for others, to my mind, is found shamefully wanting.

If you feel angry about this ruling today, remember that if Ashers had lost, same-sex marriage would still be ille gal in Northern Ireland, and that is a battle I would rather see won. Let’s refocus our efforts on that.

PS I had my wedding cake made in Northern Ireland by a wonderful company who had no problems with me and my husband at all. In fact, they were delighted for us. It was a rainbow cake and it was delicious. I will happily pass on their details for anyone who needs them.


The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.
Sign our petition here

Source: Google News Ireland | Netizen 2 4 Ireland

Next
« Prev Post
Previous
Next Post »