Sir Patrick Stewart is a very strong gay rights supporter, but this week he defended an Irish bakery that got in trouble for refusing to put a pro-gay message on a cake.
Asher’s Baking Company was convicted weeks ago on charges of discrimination, because gay rights activist Gareth Lee asked them for the cake to read “Support Gay Marriage” and have Bert & Ernie from Sesame Street pop up.
They’re planning to appeal the conviction, but the bakery already has one prominent supporter in Stewart.
On BBC’s Newsnight Wednesday, Stewart talked a lot about politics, torture, and, of course, Star Trek, but he also weighed in on the baking controversy. He said the bakery wasn’t objecting to a gay couple, but to “the actual words on the cake.”
And so, Stewart said, “I would support their rights to say, ‘No, this is personally offensive to my beliefs, I will not do it.'”
Watch the full interview below, via the BBC:
UPDATE- 7:02 pm EST: Stewart elaborated on his views in a subsequent Facebook post:
As part of my advocacy for Amnesty International, I gave an interview on a number of subjects related to human rights, civil rights and freedom of speech. During the interview, I was asked about the Irish bakers who refused to put a message on a cake which supported marriage equality, because of their beliefs. In my view, this particular matter was not about discrimination, but rather personal freedoms and what constitutes them, including the freedom to object. Both equality and freedom of speech are fundamental rights— and this case underscores how we need to ensure one isn’t compromised in the pursuit of the other. I know many disagree with my sentiments, including the courts. I respect and understand their position, especially in this important climate where the tides of prejudices and inequality are (thankfully) turning. What I cannot respect is that some have conflated my position on this single matter to assume I’m anti-equality or that I share the personal beliefs of the bakers. Nothing, absolutely nothing, could be further from the truth. I have long championed the rights of the LGBT community, because equality should not only be, as the people of Ireland powerfully showed the world, universally embraced, but treasured.
[image via screengrab]
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