A Christian-owned bakery in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland has enjoyed a rise in its profit last year after it lost its appeal in a legal battle over its refusal to bake a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan.
Last year, the Equality Commission pronounced Ashers Bakery guilty of violating equality laws when it turned down an order for a cake with a message supporting same-sex marriage. However, that controversy has not negatively affected the Christian-owned bakery's financial status, The Belfast Telegraph reports.
Based on Ashers' financial accounts, its accumulated profits rose from £1.3 million in 2015 to to £1.5 million in 2016. This means its profit increased by £170,500 last year.
Daniel and Amy McArthur, the Christian owners of the Ashers Bakery chain, were issued legal proceedings when the commission said they had discriminated against Gareth Lee by turning down his gay cake order. The organization said the company has no right to refuse the order.m
The McArthurs argued that they had no problem with the customer, but only with the message that Lee requested, given that they had previously served him and that they were aware of his sexual orientation. Nevertheless, the Court of Appeal upheld the ruling against the Christian couple, and they are now mulling over taking their case to the Supreme Court.
Recently, Ashers once again stirred controversy after it refused another order with a message expressing support for same-sex marriage. On May 1, News Letter reported that a customer from London had attempted to order a gay engagement cake from the Christian-owned bakery, but the attempt failed.
Speaking to the Sunday Life, Grainne McCann said she placed an online order for a cake bearing the message: "Gay marriage rocks! Happy engagement, Andy and Joe! Lots of love xxx." The bakery initially accepted the order, so the Londoner paid for it in full.
However, Ashers sent McCann a cancellation note the following day. She also received a full refund of her payment.
McCann felt that Ashers turned down her order because it celebrated same-sex marriage. In the end, she managed to order the engagement cake from a bakery in London.