DUP MP calls for Equality Commission to ‘fund both sides’ in lawsuit over anti-gay Christian bakery

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Democratic Unionist Party MP Dr William McCrea has again criticised the “oppressive” Equality Commission for filing a lawsuit against a bakery that refused to make a ‘gay’ cake.

Asher’s Baking Company, a Christian-owned bakery in Northern Ireland, refused the request of a gay rights activist for a cake showing the message ‘Support Gay Marriage’, above an image of Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie.

The Equality Commission has since stated that this act broke anti-discrimination laws.

DUP MP William McCrea has now called for the Equality Commission to fund “both sides” of the case, reports the News Letter.

He said: “The arguments put forward by the Equality Commission in this case do not hold water.

“Having issued threatening letters before even seeking advice from a senior barrister, the commission has now widened the alleged discrimination beyond that which they initially claimed.

“The commission is very clearly out of step with public opinion. Two-thirds of people in GB surveyed were opposed to the legal action. I have no doubt this figure would be even higher within Northern Ireland.”

According to a ComRes poll commissioned by the Christian Institute, 60 per cent of people agree that the legal action is disproportionate, surging to 80 per cent among over-65s.

He added: “This is not a case of discrimination, but one where the owners of the company have deeply held Christian beliefs and feel they must act in line with their conscience.

“This is not a fair case as one side is a publicly funded organisation whilst the other is a small family business … if this case was to be fair and about clarifying the law, then the Equality Commission should be funding both sides of the case.”

Earlier this month, Mr McCrea claimed the bakery should be protected against the “oppressive” Equality Commission.

McCrea is not the first to defend the bakery, former MP Ann Widdecombe is supporting the owners of the Belfast bakery.

In the first question during yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions, David Cameron was called on to respond to the case by Ulster Unionist MP Gregory Campbel.