Beggs Concerned at Ashers bakery Case Ramifications for Civil and Religious Freedom

Roy Beggs has expressed concern at the implications for civil and religious liberty following the court judgement that a Christian-run bakery discriminated against a gay customer by refusing to make a cake with a slogan supporting same-sex marriage.

Roy Beggs MLA said, “this case has much wider consequences than the Gay Marriage cake including Bert and Ernie “Supporting Gay Marriage”.  Potentially it will have adverse implications for freedom of expression effecting wider society and not just the ability of those of faith to operate their business.

I am disturbed that an individual could be forced to promote an issue that they personally disapprove of.   Will a baker on the Shankill Road now risk prosecution if he were to refuse a cake celebrating the Shankill Bombers or, a baker on the Falls Road if he refuses to make a cake glorifying Mad Dog, Johnny Adair?

Will those involved in business have no say on how they operate their business according to their personal views or will the state attempt to coerce them into acting against their personal beliefs?  As a result of this judgement, our hard won civil and religious freedom has been endangered.”

Since this issue has been highlighted I have been made aware of the Canadian Brockie case Canada and the issue of “reasonable accommodation”.  It seems to me that we need to recalibrate our laws so that the issue of “reasonable accommodation” must be taken into consideration so that one person’s rights are not over ruling the rights and freedoms of another.”

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