The lawsuit against the bakery in Northern Ireland that refused to bake a pro-gay marriage cake will be heard this month. 

Ashers Bakery in Newtonabbey refused the request of a gay rights activist who wanted the message ‘Support Gay Marriage’ above an image of Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie. It was found to have broken anti-discrimination law and the Equality Commission is taking the company to court.

The anti-gay Christian Institute – which believes Christians should be free to discriminate against gay people – is supporting the bakery in the case, and has taken out adverts in several newspapers calling for donations.

Hundreds of people have also signed an MP-instigated petition that states: “We, the undersigned, express our concern at the use of public funds by the Equality Commission to pursue a prosecution against Ashers Bakery because of their refusal to promote gay marriage.

"We note that Ashers Bakery are not guilty of discrimination, they have not refused to sell their products to anybody on the basis of their sexual orientation nor have discriminated in any other way.”

The case will be heard on 26 and 27 February.