IN the Appeal Court's judgement on the Asher's "gay cake" issue ("Joy as ‘gay cake’ bakers win Supreme Court appeal", The Herald, October 11), the President of the Court, Lady Hale, said: "It is deeply humiliating, and an affront to human dignity, to deny someone a service because of that person's race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief. But that is not what happened in this case...The bakers could not refuse to supply their goods to Mr Lee because he was a gay man or supported gay marriage, but that is quite different from obliging them to supply a cake iced with a message with which they profoundly disagreed."

Not much "doubt" there, any 'reasonable' person might assume. And being a "reasonable" person, I agree. Yet...reason?

After the verdict, Asher's general manager, Daniel McArthur, said: "I want to start by thanking God ... Through the bible ... He has comforted us and sustained us. He is our rock and all His ways are just."

Let us now be clear, in that case. Belief, not reason, stalks the corridors of this land. Theocratic belief, not reason, invites us to consider the existence of a singular, non-existent, unprovable entity, the deity, God (even to use a capital letter when writing "His" name) as more worthy of our endorsement than reason.

Christian belief, not reason, invites us to take seriously the written words of something, the so-called Bible, which is not a cohesive book or novel but a collection of texts cobbled together in our superstitious and ignorant pre-history by a variety of pseudo-spiritual Johnny-come-lateleys which was in production for some 1400 years and subject to multifarious editorial inconsistencies and emendations.

Mr McArthur went on to say that he was "grateful to the judges and especially grateful to God". Presumably the self-same God we praise for a good harvest but don't condemn for a bad one. The self-same God to whom we give thanks for the births of our beautiful and perfect sons and daughters but to whom we attach no blame for the congenital horrors that arrive daily in our labour wards. The self-same God to whom our obscenely-rewarded football players raise their arms in thanks for His having taken His beneficent eye off the world-suffering ball just long enough to gift said players with a goal. The self-same God in whose name tall towers crumble; genocide thrives; sexual violence passes for cultural variation; brain-washing passes for education and the voice of 'reason' is aggressively cowed into silence.

Mr McArthur and his cake business may well have been vindicated in law, but it seems to me to be a very thin end of a wedge in an already wafer-thin concept that a man's simple desire to have a lawful and morally acceptable message inscribed on a cake is trumped by the belief of the cake maker in such a God.

Gerard McCulloch,

Moffat Wynd, Saltcoats.

CHRISTIAN owners of Northern Ireland bakery Ashers have won their Supreme Court appeal in the "gay cake" discrimination case and it’s causing more debate.

Remember the Bible is equally opposed to mixed religious marriage. Equality legislation would surely condemn anyone publicly supporting such a prohibition.

Much was made of the difference between “people” and “ideas”. Ideas, such as religious belief, are choices. Sexual identity is not.

Is there really a distinction between gay equality and the right to access institutions of equality?

Neil Barber,

Saughtonhall Drive, Edinburgh.

I AM a little ashamed to admit that I felt a surge of pleasure at the Supreme Court decision on the Belfast "gay cake’’ case. My shame is surely a symptom of the times. Forgetting the specifics of the case, it seemed to me that at long last the all-conquering Political Correctness lobby has been temporarily at least halted.

And freedom within the law to act and think and have opinions returned to individuals.

Alexander McKay,

8/7 New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh.

JIM White (Letters, October 8) is right to call for a dignified debate on transgender issues. There is a need to keep clear of black-and-white assertions and be willing to discuss all aspects. The use of phrases like "highly flawed and biased" and "debunked" (James Morton, Letters, October 8) in an effort to discredit the decision of the highly-respected John Hopkins Medical School to discontinue "sex re-alignment surgery" was not because their patients were not satisfied with the immediate surgery outcome but for other reasons which emerged later on.

One of the important areas for research and discussion must relate to the medium and long-term effect. A Swedish longitudinal (30-year) study revealed that 10 years after surgery the transgendered began to experience increasing mental difficulties. Most disturbingly they reported the suicide mortality rate rose almost 20-fold above the comparable non-transgender population. A United States survey of 7,00 transgendered people found that the suicide rate was 25 times higher than in the general public. No doubt other surveys will produce slightly different results. However, in a society where a very small minority of people feel intensely and persistently that they are "in the wrong body" there is a duty of care to carefully discuss and debate the medium and long-term effects of gender re-alignment surgery. It may well be that this is not the most helpful way to respond.

Rev Dr Bill Wallace,

29 Station Road, Banchory.