The Northern bakery run by a Christian couple who last year lost a discrimination case over refusing to make a cake advocating same-sex marriage saw their profits rise in 2016.
Controversy around Daniel and Amy McArthur’s Ashers Baking Company’s 2014 refusal to make a cake bearing the slogan ‘Support gay marriage’ has not harmed the couple’s business, which earned profits of £1.5 (€1.75) million for 2016, up from up from £1.3 (€1.52) million in 2015.
A refusal to fulfil one order recently drew fresh attention to the seven-store baking chain, after London-based Grainne McCann revealed how Ashers had cancelled her order for an engagement cake bearing the words “Gay marriage rocks! Happy engagement, Andy and Joe! Lots of love xxx.”
Ashers’ terms and conditions say they will not make cakes bearing “threatening, defamatory, blasphemous or pornographic material”.
The UK Supreme Court, meanwhile, has decided that it will this autumn consider last year’s judgment, which saw Ashers, after an estimated £200,000 (€233,000) in legal fees, being directed to pay £500 (€582) damages to gay rights activist Gareth Lee, who was backed by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.
The North’s attorney general, John Larkin, had spoken in defence of Ashers.
Mr McArthur has welcomed the decision, saying, “The fact that the Supreme Court is willing to hear arguments is very encouraging and reflects the importance of the issues and the high-profile nature of the case.”