Loose Women panelist Coleen Nolan has sparked outrage after comparing supporting gay rights with supporting Islamic State (ISIS).
The star was discussing yesterday’s ruling in Northern Ireland that Ashers Bakery Company had discriminated against a customer after refusing to print a gay marriage slogan on a cake at their store in Belfast.
As the Loose Women panel discussed the verdict on yesterday’s edition of the ITV talk show (May 19), Nolan joined fellow panelists Jamelia and Janet Street-Porter in defending the bakery, before asking whether the ruling meant that bakery’s would be forced to make cakes with ISIS slogans on them.
“At the end of the day, if you went in there and two days later they said ‘we don’t want to make your cakes because of our beliefs’, you’d just never go back to that shop and you’d probably say to all your gay friends, ‘don’t go there, they’re anti-gay,’ and boycott it,” she said.
“What about if somebody walked in and said ‘I want a cake and I want the whole Islamic State on it, and how I support it and how I support them killing our people’. Because it’s a business do they have to make it? And if they turn around and say they’re not making it, we’d all applaud it.”
Nolan has previously came under fire in 2007 after speaking against gay adoption on the show, saying that “there’s only so much I want to accept”.
During yesterday’s discussion, Janet Street-Porter added that she sympathised with the bakery owners, who she believed had been deliberately targeted to “test” equality legislation.
The 68-year-old said: “There is no doubt they were sought out to test the law, and that it wasn’t just any old person coming in and ordering a cake: it was someone that wanted to test the quality and anti-discrimination laws. So you can see where both sides are coming form.
“In Northern Ireland… discrimination is illegal. This was a test case, so the bakery, in my opinion, was always going to lose, but nevertheless, I feel rather sympathetic towards them, because I would not like to see their business close down, nor do i think they’re are bigots, they just happen to have beliefs that we may or may not agree with.
“I’ve had so many rows with my gay friends about this, who say ‘can’t you see what they did was wrong’, and yes, I can see what was wrong about it, but I also have tremendous sympathy for them.”
She added: “[Gay people] have got equal rights in law, but they can choose where they go to get their cakes.”
Former pop star Jamelia also gave her two cents on the ruling, saying that despite personally being a “huge” supporter of gay rights, the religious rights of the bakery “aren’t being taken into account”.
“I understand and completely support equal rights for everyone, but if, for instance, somebody went in and asked for a sexually explicit cake, it would be something that they would be uncomfortable with. Should they be forced to do that?” the Beware of the Dog singer said.
“If they denied somebody that, are they not still doing the same thing? I think that everyone should be entitled to have their opinons, their views, and I think that everyone should be allowed to practise their religions.
I mean, I’m a huge supporter of gay rights, I believe that people should be allowed to be who they are, I believe in gay marriage, but I also understand that not everyone agrees with me, and that should also be okay.”