A bakery in Northern Ireland run by devout Christians could face legal action after it refused to make a gay-themed cake depicting the Sesame Street couple Bert and Ernie.

Ashers Baking Company published a statement on its website defending its decision to refuse to bake the cake as the slogan above the puppets was in support of gay marriage.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where gay marriage is still illegal.

That ban is expected to face a legal challenge later this year.

Northern Ireland’s first openly gay Mayor, Andrew Muir, has backed legal action against the bakery, saying businesses should not be able to pick and choose who they serve.