The Christian Institute has launched a petition to support Ashers Baking Company ahead of the Christian-run bakery’s appeal hearing next week.
The petition, which can be signed at christian.org.uk/supportashers, states: “I support Ashers Baking Co and the McArthur family in their stand for freedom of speech and freedom of conscience.”
The McArthur family own and run Ashers, and face legal action after being taken to court by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.
Ashers declined to decorate a cake with the words “Support Gay Marriage” in May 2014 because of the McArthur family’s Christian belief that marriage can only be between one man and one woman.
The Equality Commission took Ashers to court and in May last year a District Judge ruled that the bakery had breached political and sexual orientation discrimination regulations.
The Court of Appeal in Belfast will hear the legal arguments on Wednesday 3 February.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that a top legal expert had joined the team defending Ashers.
Professor Christopher McCrudden of Queen’s University Belfast studied law at Yale and Oxford and specialises in human rights law. He joins a team led by David Scoffield QC.
Speaking about Professor McCrudden, The Christian Institute’s spokesman Simon Calvert said: “We are delighted to have such a formidable legal expert join an already strong team.”