Today, The Rainbow Project, Northern Ireland’s largest support organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender people welcomed a Court of Appeal judgement confirming that Ashers Baking company had acted unlawfully by refusing to fulfill their contractual agreement to make a cake with a slogan supporting marriage equality.

Reacting to the judgement, John O’Doherty, Director of The Rainbow Project said: ‘We welcome today's judgement. Ashers Baking Company entered into a contractual agreement to make this cake and then changed their mind. While sympathetic as some may be to the position in which the company finds itself; this does not change the facts of the case. The judgement clearly articulated that this is direct discrimination for which there can be no justification’

‘We do not believe that this matter should have been brought to court. We believe that Ashers bakery should have accepted the Equality Commission’s invitation to engage in mediation, where a remedy could have been found without the expense and division surrounding this court case.

‘We once again extend the hand of friendship to all people of faith, churches and families. We would encourage faith leaders to engage with our community to ensure better relations and to develop trust and respect between our overlapping communities for the betterment of our society.’