Sir Patrick Stewart may have found the elusive middle ground between Christian rights and gay rights.
The Star Trek and X-Men star said in a recent interview that he supports the right of Christian bakers to refuse to create cakes with messages supporting gay rights scrawled across them.
“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,” Stewart, a vocal supporter of gay rights, said in a recent interview on BBC’s Newsnight. “It was the actual words on the cake they objected to. Because they found the words offensive.”
“I would support their rights to say ‘No, this is personally offensive to my beliefs, I will not do it,’” he added.
The McArthur family, proprietors of Ashers Bakery in Northern Ireland, lost a court case last month after refusing to make a Sesame Street-themed cake that included the words “support gay marriage.” A Belfast court found that the bakery had discriminated against Gareth Lee, the customer, on the grounds of his sexual orientation.
“We don’t want to be forced to promote a cause which is against our biblical beliefs,” the bakery’s general manager Daniel McArthur told the Independent. “We’ve had a lot of support from people who disagree with our stance on same-sex marriage. They think that we should have the freedom to decline an order that conflicts with our conscience.”
“Finally, I found myself on the side of the bakers,” said Stewart, who was incorrectly outed as being gay by the Guardian last year.
The issue of whether Christian business owners should have the right to not participate in same-sex weddings has been hotly debate this year in the infinitely more polarized U.S. As many as 15 states have proposed so-called “religious freedom” laws that would effectively empower business owners to deny service to gay customers.