It was revealed yesterday that the supermarket giant Tesco currently stocks Ashers baking company products, the most recognisable being multi-packs of sausage rolls, across its Northern Ireland stores.
This week the bakery food chain “Ashers” was found to have unlawfully discriminated against a gay customer, Gareth Lee, by refusing to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan. A long awaited judgement for those pleading for the advancement of equality law in Northern Ireland.
In an exchange on Twitter, some users have wanted clarity on how the ruling would affect how Tesco distributes Ashers Baking Company products.
Tesco responded to the queries on Twitter.
Blogger Belfast Barman tweeted to Tesco after the judgment: “Any comment from @Tesco who stock Ashers sausage rolls in Coleraine branch, a company proven to discriminate on sexuality…?”.
Tesco quickly responded to the tweet.
“Tesco has a great track record of working with local suppliers, large and small, from across Northern Ireland.
“Our focus and our commitment is to serve customers in all communities, from all backgrounds and beliefs.”
Responding to another user, Tesco tweeted that it has no information regarding the “delisting of Ashers products.”
Evidently not a response from a company pertaining to associate itself with the more equality advocating organisations of the world.
Now a Change.org petition has been started to encourage Tesco to remove Ashers products from their shelves. Currently the petition has received around 500 signatures.
Speaking to the media after the ruling, Daniel McArthur said the bakery would not close, and that despite the ruling, they did not consider that they had done anything wrong.
Meanwhile, another leading grocery chain has rallied to support Ashers. Last night the Henderson Group, which runs dozens of convenience outlets, confirmed that the controversial Christian-owned bakery also supplied traybakes and biscuits to some of its Spar and Vivo shops.
It added in a statement: “As long as a supplier continues to provide quality, both of product and service, value and choice, they will continue to be a supplier.”
Speaking on BBC’s Question Time last night in Derby, former Dragons’ Den panellist Hilary Devey said the issue was a “non-story”, and asked “does it matter” what the sexuality of a customer is.
She said: “It shouldn’t have had print. it shouldn’t have even been a story, it’s a non-story. I think as a business they should turn the key now and go home because frankly a customer is a customer – does it matter? For goodness sake this is 2015, whose business is it whether you are heterosexual, lesbian, homosexual – who the hell’s business is it?”