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Actor Patrick Stewart Defends Christian Bakery


Actor Patrick Stewart is supporting the free speech rights of Christian bakers from northern Ireland who declined to decorate a cake with a pro-gay-marriage message.

An Irish court fined the owners of Ashers Bakery £500 for not writing the slogan "Support Gay Marriage" on a cake.

The bakery owners say they're happy to bake a cake for anyone, but reserve the right to decline messages that are contrary to their religious beliefs.

Stewart, who is known for his roles in "Star Trek" and "X-Men," told BBC "Newsnight" that no one should be forced to write things they disagree with.

Gay activists have been attacking Stewart for his comments.

Stewart has responded on Facebook, saying he supports same-sex marriage, but he's standing by his earlier comments.

"In my view, this particular matter was not about discrimination, but rather personal freedoms and what constitutes them, including the freedom to object," Stewart wrote.

"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," he said.

Ashers Bakery is appealing the ruling against them.

"The ruling suggests that all business owners will have to be willing to promote any cause or campaign no matter how much they disagree with it--or as the Equality Commission has suggested, they should perhaps just close down and that can't be right," General Manager Daniel McArthur said on the website of his defense counsel, The Christian Institute.

McArthur says his family is "grateful for support from Christians around the world."

"Because of this case, we have had more opportunities to talk about our Christian faith and the Lord Jesus Christ, and for that we can be very thankful to God," McArthur said.

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