Support for the moral stance taken by Asher Bakery in Newtownabbey, in refusing to produce a ‘gay wedding’ cake was voiced in Limavady by the Brethren’s guest of honour, Deputy Grand master of the Grand Lodge, Rev Alistair Smyth.
In his address, Rev Smyth commended the Christian stance taken by the owners of the bakery and spoke out against legislation that stifled religious liberty, branding it “quite obviously bad law”.
As a clergyman and one of the chaplains in Limavady District Rev Smyth underlined the message of the County Grand Chaplain, Rev Joseph Andrews, about the work of the Christian Institute, which in the past two years had received £30,000 from the Orange Institution.
“The good work being done by the Christian Institute has been highlighted over recent days in the legal advice being given by the Institute to the Asher Bakery who refused to bake a cake decorated with a message promoting homosexual marriage,” he said.
“Legislation which stifles religious liberty in this way is quite obviously bad law. So, well done the Asher Bakery and well done the Christian Institute,” he said.
Driving rain and wind plagued the proceedings and dampened the desire by most to step out from under what shelter they could find, but, on a brighter note, an international feel to the proceedings was created with the presence of an Orange Lodge from Nevada, America, the Las Vegas Purple Star LOL 212, who walked with Dungiven Brethren.
The main parade in Limavady, which was one of the Flaghsip Twelfth demonstrations this year, started at 11.30am, and it was the first time in 14 years that all of the County’s Brethren had paraded together. The route took in Ballyclose Street, Main Street, Linenhall Street, Catherine street, Roe Mill Road, William Street, Protestant Street into Catherine Street, along Irish Green Street and Roe Mill Gardens to Orange Field.
At the head of the parade was County Londonderry Grand Lodge, followed in succession by the District Lodges of Limavady, Coleraine, Macosquin, Garvagh, Kilrea, Tobermore, Tamlaght O Crilly, then Castledawson, Magherafelt, Moneymore and Ballyronan Districts. The home Lodges were followed by the City of Londonderry Grand Lodge and it’s five Districts and Lodges. A large flag, recognising Limavady’s flagship status, was carried at the rear of the parade.
The guests of honour at Limavady were Rt Wor Bro Rev Alistair Smyth, Deputy Grand Master, Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland and Most Wor Bro Ron Bather, Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of England, who brought greetings from the GOL of England brethren.
Performing the official welcome was Mark Smyth, Worshipful District Master of Limavady, and the chairman for the religious service in the demonstration field, off Roe Mill Road, was Hugh Stewart, the County Grand Master Co Londonderry.
Pslam 98 and the hymn ‘King of Kings Majesty’ were sung.
The Resolutions were, as is traditional, for Faith, Loyalty and the State. The Resolution for Faith was proposed by Rev John Noble, Deputy City Grand Chaplain City of Londonderry and was seconded by George Duddy, Past County Grand Master County Londonderry.
The Resolution for Loyalty was proposed by James McCorkell, Deputy District Master for Limavady, Dist No.6, and seconded by Charles Cefferty, Coounty Grand Master of the County Grand Lodge of Central Scotland.
That for the State was proposed by Samuel Calvin, Deputy County Grand Master for County Londonderry and was seconded by Jonathan Holmes, Assistant Deputy County Grand Secretary County Londonderry.
A fourth, emergency Resolution, involving the Parades Commission, was proposed by the Platform chairman, Hugh Stewart, County Grand Master of County Londonderry Grand Orange Lodge, and was seconded by Mark Smyth, District master of Limavady Listrict LOL No. 6.
Proposing the vote of thanks was James Hetherington, the City Grand Master of City of Londonderry Grand Orange Lodge and seconded by David Montgomery, Deputy County Grand Lecturer of County Londonderry.
The return Parade got underway at 3.45pm following the route of Orange Field, Roemill Road, William Street, Protestant Street, Catherine Street, and Main Street to dispersal points on Killane road, Rathmore Road and Scroggy Road.