Perhaps the oddest News Story ever.
For an Anti-Homophobia Reception, a man goes into a Belfast Bakery and orders a cake. Featuring Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street. Today I learn that these are Gay Icons. And they would also like the logo of the Gay Rights organisation “Queer Sense” embedded in the cake. All seems harmless enough. Except the Bakery is Christian-owned and they refuse the order as they….are not overly keen on Gay Rights.
Happily the Cake is baked in Bangor. But a complaint has been made to the Equality Commission and they are looking into it. It might even end up in Court.
1… While FUNDAMENTALIST Christians seem to have a problem with Gay Rights, the majority of mainstream Christians do not.
2… The word “Queer” is I consider “offensive” and even though strident Gay Rights activists have reclaimed it, I am not entirely happy with that. Has a Bakery or (say) a Printer got the right to refuse to bake or print it?
3…Clearly it would be wrong for a Business Owner to disrespect a Customer, based on (say) Sexual Orientation but is it wrong for a Customer to disrespect the ethos of a business. For example, it would obviously be wrong for a Baker to refuse an order for a cake for a Christening, a Barmitzvah, a First Communion or to mark the end of Ramadan. But would it be permissible to refuse to bake the risqué symbolism in a “Hen Party-Bachelorette” cake?
4…The Queer Sense logo makes it a cake which promotes or at least mentions a CAMPAIGN. And I suggest that is beyond the Bakers remit. To refuse to bake a “DUP Cake” or “SDLP Cake” seems reasonable. Or what about a “Pro Choice Cake”. Some feminists might be outraged if a “Christian” Bakery did not take the order. They might be outraged if the Bakery baked a “Pro Life Cake”.
I think the best parallel is printing a political leaflet. Nearly two years ago, leaflets circulated in East Belfast, which were hostile , indeed vitriolic about the Alliance Party. Alliance members might well have been grateful if a Printer refused the order for 40,000 leaflets.
Which makes it rather odd that the most public face of the Gay Rights campaigners who are protesting is Councillor Andrew Muir of the er……….Alliance Party. Muir is gay, possibly the most publicly gay politician in Norn Iron and has just recently completed a term as Mayor of Bangor in North Down. The anti-Homophobia Reception was hosted by Muir…in Bangor. So why not simply go to a Bangor bakery in the first place.
Andy Muir is a popular politician, much loved by South Belfasts LetsgetAlongerist , MetroTextual tweeters but just a little too inclined to play “the only gay in the village” card.
I am surprised that the Equality Commission has taken on this case. I will be even more surprised if it is settled in favour of the Gay Rights activists. Let’s not forget that in Norn Iron, the Gay and Lesbian and Transgendered Communities suffer terribly from misunderstanding, hatred and even violence. They need the support of decent men and women, including mainstream Christians.
This kinda nonsense does them…or us…few favours.