"Star Trek" and "X-Men" actor Patrick Stewart – a longtime supporter of gay rights – has come to the defense of Christian bakers in Northern Ireland who were hit with a fine for refusing to decorate a cake with the slogan: "Support Gay Marriage."
"[The case] is a deliciously difficult subject," the actor said in an interview on the BBC's Newsnight program, referring to Ashers Bakery Company, which last month was found guilty of discrimination and fined $765.
Story continues below video.
The cake was ordered by Belfast gay rights activist Gareth Lee, who wanted a picture of Bert and Ernie on the cake along with the supportive same-sex slogan.
The bakers at first accepted the order, then called two days later to cancel, citing their religious beliefs, the Huffington Post reports.
Members the McArthur family, the bakery's owners, are appealing their case, insisting, "We have done nothing wrong as we have discriminated against no individual but rather acted according to what the Bible teaches regarding marriage."
Stewart said he'd been following the case, and wrestling with the issues involved.
"Finally, I found myself on the side of the bakers," Stewart told Newsnight.
"It was not because it was a gay couple that they objected. It was not because they were celebrating some sort of marriage or an agreement between them. It was the actual words on the cake that they objected to, because they found them offensive."
"I would support their rights to say, 'No, this is personally offensive to my beliefs, I will not do it.'"
In January, Stewart told the Advocate
he felt his support of gay rights was the most natural thing in the world.
"I think this is where the theater is such an appealing world, because it embraces everything and always has. So there was never a moment where I made an intellectual choice that I would be a supporter of gay civil rights," he said. "It was always a natural and uncomplicated choice."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.