Bakery Refuses to Make Gay Marriage Cake With 'Sesame Street's' Bert and Ernie
The general manager of the Northern Ireland store said preparing the cake would go against the Christian values the company upholds, but the bakery could face legal action over his decision.
A bakery in Northern Ireland is under fire for refusing to make a cake in support of same-sex marriage.
An LGBT activist wanted Ashers Baking Company to make a cake featuring Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie and the slogan “Support Gay Marriage,” according to the Belfast Telegraph.
The bakery’s general manager said that making the cake would go against the Christian values of the business’ founders and current directors.
“We thought that this order was at odds with our beliefs. It certainly was in contradiction of what the Bible teaches,” Daniel McArthur told The Telegraph. “I feel if we don’t take a stand with this case, then how can we stand up against it further down the line?”
McArthur noted that the bakery is run in accordance with Christian values and beliefs.
“It means for example that we don’t open on Sundays, that we trade openly and honestly with people,” he said.
The customer who placed the order was given a refund, but the bakery could face legal action over McArthur’s refusal.
The Equality Commission’s Northern Ireland Branch subsequently sent the company a letter, informing it that it broke the law by refusing to bake the cake and accusing the bakery of discriminating against the customer on the grounds of sexual orientation, The Telegraph reports.
The commission said it would pursue legal action if there was no response in seven days.
Bert and Ernie long have been rumored to be a gay couple, with their images even gracing the cover of The New Yorker after last year’s landmark Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage.
In addition, after same-sex marriage was legalized in New York, Sesame Street’s producer commented on the puppets’ sexual orientation, or lack thereof, in response to an online petition started to let them get married.
“Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation,” the Sesame Workshop said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter at the time.