Renowned actor Patrick Stewart, best known for his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation, said in an interview that he found himself “on the side of the bakers” in a court case that forced a Northern Irish bakery to pay a fine after they refused to print a pro-gay message on a cake last fall.
Ashers Baking Company in Newtownabbey was fined £500 (about $760 US) last month after it declined to print a cake featuring Bert and Ernie, two Muppets who appear on the children’s television show Sesame Street, with a pro-gay statement.
The bakery is set to appeal the court’s decision. “We don’t want to be forced to promote a cause which is against our biblical beliefs. We’ve had a lot of support from people who disagree with our stance on same-sex marriage. They think that we should have the freedom to decline an order that conflicts with our conscience,” the bakery’s general manager, Daniel McArthur, said in a statement after the ruling.
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Stewart, a staunch supporter of gay rights, agreed with the bakery’s right to express their beliefs. “It was not because this was a gay couple that they objected, it was not because they were going to be celebrating some kind of marriage or agreement between them,” Stewart told BBC Newsnight. “It was the actual words on the cake that they objected to, and because they found them offensive. And I would support their rights to say, ‘No, this is personally offensive to my beliefs. I will not do it.'”
Stewart’s remarks have caused somewhat of a ripple in the Twittersphere:
— Steven D. Greydanus (@DecentFilms) June 4, 2015
Good on him. The court got it wrong. Patrick Stewart supports bakery that refused to make ‘support gay marriage’ cake http://t.co/DQKvJyXET4
— Dave Waghorn (@waggers5) June 5, 2015
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— Towleroad (@tlrd) June 5, 2015
Sir Patrick Stewart Sides With Bigoted Bakery Owners – ferotips http://t.co/tjfdVkqpWE
— feromoon (@feromoon) June 5, 2015
h/t: The Independent
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