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Gay Cake Affair 'Crumbles' on

Anti-Gay Marriage Cake Baker Outlines Appeal Grounds

 

By The Gay UK, Jun 11 2015 07:25AM

The Christian-run bakery which refused to bake a pro-marriage cake has outlined its appeal to the judgement that found it had acted unlawfully in refusing the cake order.

CREDIT: Steve Schoeder (flickr)

CREDIT: Steve Schoeder (flickr)
The bakery, in Northern Ireland, was found to have acted unlawfully when it refused to make a cake that beared a pro gay marriage slogan for Gareth Lee, by a court last month. It was ordered to pay £500 in compensation to Mr. Lee.
In a statement released by the Christian Institute, an organisation that has funded many appeals against legal matters surrounding gay issues, has raised three questions to support their appeal.
Whether the judge was correct, as a matter of law, to hold that Ashers had discriminated against Mr Lee directly on grounds of sexual orientation.
Whether the judge was correct, as a matter of law, to hold that Ashers had discriminated against Mr Lee directly on grounds of religious belief or political opinion.
Whether the judge was correct, as a matter of law, to hold that Ashers was not entitled to protection as a result of the rights under Articles 9 and/or 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
A spokesperson for the Christian Institute, Simon Calvert, believes that “most people” would support an overturning of the ruling that found that the business had acted unlawfully, this despite a poll undertaken in 2014 which showed that the majority supported same-sex marriage.
The Christian Institute is a registered charity that has sought to retain section 28, to raise the age of consent for gay people and opposed the Civil Partnership Act and same-sex marriage act.
The Christian Institute has backed many legal actions in the past, but has been unsuccessful in many attempts, most notably the Christian Institute backed Hotel owners Mr and Mrs Ball, who infamously denied lodgings to a gay couple. Numerous attempts of appeal have all subsequently failed.

Equality is for Everyone

Editorial:  The difficulty when you review articles at any time, is to have balance.  It becomes even more of a problem when you are based in Northern Ireland and you are looking at an article which relates to an election issue in Souther Ireland but is of interest to readers who will be voting in Northern Ireland.  In this case I refer to an article entitled

New effort to turn Irish gays into “untouchable unmarried eunuchs”

written by  and published in Irish Central.  The article is about the ‘no campaginers’ current campaign on marriage equality and why it is against children if you vote ‘yes’.

Just after reading this article I then was referred to Ms Susan-Anne White stance on the LGBT community, which we have already comment on.

The subject of equality is being lost in the rhetoric, equality means:

the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities

Rosie Winterton wrote, “Everyone has a stake in creating a fair society because fairness is the foundation for individual rights, a prosperous economy and a peaceful society. Fairness and equality are the hallmarks of a modern and confident society. ”

We urge you to think carefully before you vote, to check your candidates history in relation to LGBT topics, and also the candidates party.

Remember your vote, along with everyone else who votes, will put the politicians who will run our country and also our institutions into power for five years.

Further Reading:

Forget the SNP, the DUP Tory coalition is the one you should worry about

Editorial:  Be careful who you vote for!  And remember if you are entitled to vote, you must vote.  Don’t waste the opportunity and allow politicians to get an easy ride over LGBT matters!

 

Reprinted from the Mirror – 16:54, 23 April 2015 By Federica Cocco

The DUP might end up in government with the Tory party – 10 reasons we should be afraid

Photopress Belfast

The Tories have been jumping up and down about the possibility of the SNP ending up in a coalition with Labour, but they have been strangely silent on Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) potentially holding the balance of power.

But if the Tories win a sufficient number of seats, DUP MPs may be pivotal in forming government, as their leader Peter Robinson said yesterday.

A 12% chance the DUP will end up in government
That’s according to an analysis by the Financial Times.

They currently hold eight seats and are expected to win between eight and ten seats. Not a lot; but it’s more than UKIP are predicted to get (four or five). And given that the race is so close, the DUP could easily play kingmaker.

Conservative MP Mel Stride blew a straw in the wind when he wrote on Conservativehome.com: “an alliance of sorts [with the DUP] could offer those vital additional seats that might make all the difference to our prospects for continuing to govern.”

Last year David Cameron hosted “a lavish reception” in Downing Street in their honour.

So what will the DUP be bringing to the negotiating table?

1. They want to legalise discrimination against LGBT people

Paul Givan – DUP member of the Northern Ireland Assembly – has drafted a private member’s bill which would allow business to deny services to any LGBT people on the grounds of religion.

It’s been put for consultation but the party hasn’t “laid” it yet, which means they are yet to submit it to be scheduled for discussion in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

If this becomes law, gay people in Northern Ireland could be refused simple, basic services like booking a table in a restaurant, renting a room for a night or even buying food.

The Rainbow Project said that what is known as the conscience clause would “create a licence to discriminate” against gay people.

And just in case you think this is just one man’s crusade, bear in mind the DUP leader Peter Robinson backs the bill.

We asked the DUP about the bill and they confirmed that “the party supports the broad proposal”.

A DUP spokesperson told us Givan’s consultation document was intended to “start a discussion” but no firm proposals are on the table yet.

2. Homophobia is deep-rooted within the party

In 1977 Rev. Ian Paisley – founder of the DUP – launched campaign “Save Ulster from Sodomy” to lobby against the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

His son Ian Paisley Jr has inherited his father’s values. In 2007 he said he was “repulsed” by homosexuals. On Question Time last year he defended the comments, adding “Christians are scared off about expressing this sort of view.”

In 2008 Unionist politician Iris Robinson was investigated for hate crime after saying homosexuality was disgusting, loathsome, nauseating, wicked and vile. No charges were brought.

She also stated in Parliament that homosexuality is “viler” than child sex abuse. That was when she served as the party’s spokeswoman for health.

She believes gay people “can be turned around” through counselling and therapy.

3. They don’t exactly champion women’s rights

In fact they actively thwart them.

Abortion is notoriously still illegal in Northern Ireland and unlike other parts of the UK it’s governed by criminal law, i.e. the Offences against the Person Act and the 1945 Criminal Justice Act.

It’s not allowed after rape or incest or in case of fatal foetus abnormality; and doctors can only terminate pregnancies to save a woman’s life or to avoid permanent and serious damage to her health.

When in 2012 a Marie Stopes abortion clinic opened in Belfast, the DUP voted in favour of closing it.

They sunk and still “oppose a Northern Ireland Bill of Rights” which would have extended access to the procedure to Northern Ireland but the DUP resolutely opposes it.

DUP/Flickr
In 2013 a total of 802 women came from Northern Ireland to terminate their pregnancies.

 

4. They think schools should teach creationism

Paul Givan, once again.

The politician – who believes in creationism – put forward a motion in the Assembly calling for schools in Lisburn to teach alternatives to the theory of evolution.

 

5. They oppose gay marriage

In the last legislation, the DUP blocked the gay marriage bill from passing in Northern Ireland THREE TIMES. Civil partnerships are legal in Northern Ireland, but that law was passed before the DUP came into power.

 

6. They want to ban begging

Their 2011 manifesto pledged to “rigorously enforce legislation against begging.”

7. They hate the BBC
Their manifesto calls for a freeze in the BBC licence fee to be followed by either its significant reduction or abolition.

 

8. They support the death penalty

In 2011 a group of DUP MPs tabled a motion to discuss the death penalty at the House of Commons.

Who’s to say that giving them a place in government wouldn’t lend legitimacy to their policy ideas?

If UKIP also ends up being part of a Tory-lead coalition, the death penalty will most likely be brought up again in Parliament.

 

9. They could become besties with UKIP

They have some policies in common with Nigel Farage’s party, most notably the fact that holding a referendum on European Union membership is a red line condition for any coalition agreement.

But they’re also dead set on increasing defence spending to 2% of GDP, and some senior members – such as the former Environment Minister – have called man-made climate change “a con”. He won’t have any trouble bonding with the likes of Roger Helmer or Paul Nuttall.

 

10. In fact they will probably win more MPs than UKIP

While UKIP is only expected to get between one and five seats, the DUP will definitely secure at least seven or eight.

Without the shadow of a doubt, in the event of a Tory-led Coalition or minority government David Cameron’s party will need the DUP’s votes to hold the government together.

The Tories have made no secret of this and have already begun wooing senior DUP politicians.

Any Government with the DUP will need to acquiesce to at least some of its deeply-held convictions.

Michael Fallon called the SNP’s manifesto “the most expensive ransom note in history”, but the DUP’s wishlist is no joke either.

Voters should be aware of what they’re in for.

[Sources: Pink News, Open Democracy, Conservative Home, FT]

Who would you rather ended up in government?

Why not write and let us know!

 

Lego Equaility

You have to read how Lego defended boys who play with dolls in 1974

‘A lot of boys like dolls houses. They’re more human than spaceships. A lot of girls prefer spaceships. They’re more exciting than dolls houses’

The letter was included in a 1974 Lego set.

Photo via fryd_/Imgur

A viral letter Lego wrote to parents in 1974 shows the toy company was promoting gender equality 40 years ago.

The Danish company urged parents to in the letter not to limit their children to gendered toys.

‘The urge to create is equally strong in all children. Boys and girls’ it read.

‘A lot of boys like dolls houses. They’re more human than spaceships. A lot of girls prefer spaceships. They’re more exciting than dolls houses.’

The letter has been shared thousands of times on social media after Reddit user fryd_ posted a photo of the letter on Saturday (22 November) with the caption, ’70s Lego had the right idea.’

He said he found the letter while at his partner’s grandmother’s house in a set ‘with a blonde girl on the front with a white Lego house.’

‘I had no idea this would blow up so much’ he said, adding that, ‘It seems like we’ve taken a step backwards.’

Lego has confirmed the authenticity of the letter and said it ‘remains relevant to this day.’

Read the letter in full:

‘To Parents

‘The urge to create is equally strong in all children. Boys and girls.

‘It’s the imagination that counts. Not skill. You build whatever comes into your head, the way you want it. A bed or a truck. A dolls house or a spaceship.

‘A lot of boys like dolls houses. They’re more human than spaceships. A lot of girls prefer spaceships. They’re more exciting than dolls houses.

‘The most important thing is to put the right material in their hands and let them create whatever appeals to them.’

– See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/lego-had-right-idea-gender-equality-40-years-ago251114#sthash.D8wh5giA.dpuf

Unionist bigotry is on full display over Irish language and gay equality

I am reprinting this to highlight a possible problem, and to provide evidence that all of the LGBT community needs to be vigilant when it comes to which MP/MLA it will vote for in the forthcoming elections.

I am not saying that you shouldn’t vote for whoever you wish to, but I am advising you to ask questions of your MP/MLA – or even your local councillors as to what stand they are making over equality.

 

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

Republished from IrishCentral website

"DUP

DUP member Paul Givan pledged to introduce a new private member’s bill to allow the public to legally discriminate against gay people in Northern Ireland based on their “conscience.”

The world had a sobering look at the unvarnished bigotry of the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland this week, after one prominent member expressed his contempt for the Irish language whilst another sought to exempt party supporters from following from Northern Ireland’s equality laws.

In language calculated to offend, DUP member Gregory Campbell told a party conference that he would treat a proposed Irish Language Act “as no more than toilet paper,” garnering hearty applause from the attendees.

Meanwhile fellow DUP member Paul Givan pledged to introduce a new private member’s bill to allow the public to legally discriminate against gay people in Northern Ireland based on their “conscience.”

It remains to be seen why people of good conscience would want to discriminate against the Irish language or gays, of course.

But in explaining their positions Campbell and Givan made free with the kind of hostile rhetoric that would result in their immediate firing in other states, but in Northern Ireland has actually elevated the DUP to its current status as the voice of unionism.

Because of the DUP’s intransigence, Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that has failed to enact full equality measures – rather than enacting same sex marriage they have effectively banned it.

Givan’s anti-equality pledge was made in the light of Ashers Baking Company’s controversial refusal to bake a Sesame Street themed cake that endorsed same sex marriage.

“Nobody should be compelled or coerced into supporting, sanctioning or promoting views or opinions which conflict with their strongly held religious convictions,” said Given, who apparently felt that simply decorating a cake was tantamount to the complete surrender of his so-called Christian values.

And in an unprecedented move, the DUP party leader Peter Robinson has called for party members to contribute to the bakery’s legal costs, abandoning all attempts at impartiality.

Apparently no one has explained to Campbell or Givan or the DUP that no one is denying them their right to be British or Christian or heterosexual or unionists. But for them “freedom of conscience” apparently means they wish to retain the right to legally discriminate against others.

Party leader Peter Robinson’s wife Irish made international headlines for her sanctimonious attacks on Northern Ireland’s gays, whom she said were more vile than child abusers. Later it emerged she had been conducting an affair with a teenage boy she had known since his childhood.

 

 

15 years after Matthew Shepard: so much achieved for gay rights, but so much more to do

I remember reading my copy of Gay Times about the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard. At the time I ended up in tears, and this evening re-reading about the murder, looking at photographs of those responsible as well as of that infamous fence in the State of Wyoming and the well known family photo of Matthew. The Matthew Shepard Foundation posted the following status on Facebook, and I feel that we should spread it wider.

1243162_595280560534122_1768961158_o“15 years ago this evening, Matthew Shepard was driven from the Fireside Lounge in Laramie, Wyoming to the outskirts of the city by two strangers who did not like that he was gay. They tied him to a fence, beat him with the butt of a gun, and left him for dead.

“The Casper Star Tribune, Matthew’s hometown newspaper, ran a beautiful story of the contradictions Wyoming still has in the acceptance and treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

“These contradictions parallel those at the national and international level as well. Just because same-sex couples can get married in 13 states and the District of Columbia doesn’t mean that these couples don’t have to think about their rights when they go on vacation. Or get transferred for work and move to one of the 29 states in which you can be fired for being gay, 33 for being transgender.

“While progress has been made over the last 15 years, we have a long way to go before we have true, meaningful equality.”

— Matthew Shepard Foundation Facebook page

So much achieved, yet so much still to do

So much has been achieved for gay rights across the world in the years since Matthew’s cruel death, but we have still so much to do. Fifteen years on, the same homophobia seen in Wyoming in 1998 is very much alive and well here in Northern Ireland.

  • A man had his nose broken nose during a homophobic assault on the Dublin to Belfast train between Newry and Portadown in December 2012. (Belfast Telegraph)
  • Henry McDonald wrote in the Guardian that the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland found in some research that 80% of homophobic attacks here in Northern Ireland are not reported.
  • Thug jailed for homophobic attack in Belfast gay bar reported in the Belfast Telegraph in June 2013
  • In September three men admitted the manslaughter of Andrew Lorimer in Lurgan in what is a suspected homophobic attack.
  • A drug addict took a legal high before he attacked a man and shouted homophobic abuse at him, a court heard in July 2013. (BBC News)

The cases illustrated above are those which have made it into a quick search on Google. I am sure that there have been many more homophobic incidents since this time last year. As the Police Service of Northern Ireland has said in the past,

“Hate crime is unacceptable, no one deserves to experience it and no one deserves to get away with it. To stop it, report it, do not suffer in silence.”

It is clear to me that we must continue to stand up for our rights, not just against homophobic attacks but the anti-gay policies of the DUP health minister, Edwin Poots, who seems to be leading a new crusade against our rights in his relentless appeals against decisions of the Northern Irish Courts relating to the Gay Blood Ban, and Adoption by Gay Couples.

Anyone interested in working towards full equality for all who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, please get in touch and help stand alongside our brothers and sisters in the Matthew Shepard Foundation working to ‘Erase Hate’ now.

Department for Regional Development – Equality Forum

Today I attended the Department of Regional Development’s Equality Forum, which is a  meeting held annually, and which reviews  all items which affect any group who fall under its umbrella of action.

Whilst today’s meeting was predominantly to do with the impact of road changes on the disabled, and in particular the visually impaired, one area which did get brought to my attention was that of a yearly survey on ‘How Safe Do You Feel on Public Transport.

This survey had had little response from the LGBT community, and in the near future the Department will be forwarding me details of their questions which I will reissued on their behalf.

I would ask that everyone complete this survey, even those who generally use their own transport, as your views count.

[highlight color=”pink”]PLEASE WATCH THIS SPACE FOR FUTURE UPDATES[/highlight]

 

 

Here for Business – Equality and Human Rights Commission

ehrc_logo3The Commission is working in partnership with businesses to help them to meet their obligations under equality law and understand how they can identify human rights risks.

Here you will find a series of interviews with businesses and short and snappy guidance that will help you to do better business.

 

 

‘The Equality Act: Guidance for Small Business’ explains how the 2010 Equality Act relates to their operations and what they need to do to ensure they stay within the law. It includes practical advice in managing important business challenges such as recruitment, promotion and what to do to ensure as many customers as possible can access their services.

‘A guide to business and human rights’ helps businesses identify and manage human rights issues which may arise in their business operations. These could include supplier considerations and the impact on their customers. For example, businesses might think about the right to privacy and the confidential information they hold online about customers and staff.

Start reading now via the links shown below:

  1. Guidance for Business
  2. Human Rights matter for business
  3. Working better
  4. Partnership working
  5. Tools and Resources