‘Gay cake’ conscience clause protest planned for Derry

A decoration for a gay wedding or civil partnership cake.
A decoration for a gay wedding or civil partnership cake.

A protest will be staged in Derry later this month amid anger over Lagan Valley DUP MLA Paul Givan’s ‘Conscience Clause’.

The protest will take place at Guildhall Square on Saturday, January 31st at 2pm.

It will coincide with two other protests in Belfast and Newry on the same afternoon.

DUP MLA Mr Givan said last month he is planning to bring forward a private member’s bill to Stormont to introduce a conscience clause into aspects of equality law.

His comments came after the Equality Commission announced civil action against Ashers Baking Company in Belfast for refusing to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan.

Mr Givan has argued that the clause will enhance equality legislation.

However the Rainbow Project have organised the protests across the north “to demonstrate strength of opinion against Paul Givan’s anti-gay conscience clause”.

“We want to make it clear to Paul Givan and the DUP that we will not tolerate our rights being eroded.

“We are not going back in our closets, we are fighting for full equality and liberation and more and more people are standing shoulder to shoulder with us.”

Over 1,000 have already announced their intention to join the protests via a dedicated Facebook page set up to promote the events.

John O’Doherty, director of the Rainbow Project, said: “The Equality Commission asked for an apology, they asked for recognition that it wouldn’t happen again.

“There’s going to be a court case around this, and this is going to get a lot more public attention and the discussions that are going to be held are going to be ‘us versus them’ and we have already seen that quite a lot.

The timing of the planned protest in Derry differs slightly to the others in Newry and Belfast to avoid a clash with the Bloody Sunday commemorations on the last weekend in January.