The decision by Belfast County Court in the gay cake case (20 May) should concern all of us, not just the small evangelical Christian minority.
The clear implication of the judgment is that people can be compelled to promote views with which they profoundly disagree.
Gareth Lee is perfectly entitled to celebrate and promote his views on same-sex marriage or anything else. If Ashers Baking Company will not bake his cake, he should go elsewhere.
Similarly, the proprietors of Ashers should be entitled to promote what they believe in and decline to promote what they don’t.
It is immaterial whether their views are wise or foolish, true or false; they should be allowed to manifest them including by declining to make a cake with a slogan they abhor.
The application of discrimination law to settle these questions of conflicts of belief is taking us away from a free society and towards one where a secular priesthood of judges, bureaucrats and activists regulate every aspect of our life.
Far better to take to heart the words often attributed to Voltaire: “Sir, I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
The Ashers Baking Company case has revealed once again that the courts value gay rights above those of religious belief, in spite of the equality legislation purporting to provide protection for both groups, among others.
Incidentally, the company did not refuse to make a cake; they declined to decorate it with a political slogan.
In the light of the legislation, and the way it has been interpreted, we have to ask: “Equality for whom?” and “What happened to diversity?”
Lawyers who are now thinking that a way must be found to grant “a reasonable accommodation” to consciences informed by religious belief overlook the fact that religious belief is one of the categories specifically stated to be protected.
As Neil Barber (Letters, 21 May) says, everyone is subject to the law but, equally, everyone who is entitled to the protection of the law should be able to rely on it being applied equitably.