A Warkworth baker has refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, saying same-sex marriage goes against her beliefs.

Moe Barr and Sasha Patrick, from Brisbane, planned to get married in Northland in January. The couple had organised a cake from a local baker, who turned them down when they told her they were a same-sex couple.

The baker replied to Barr and Patrick in what I felt was a polite and respectful way: "Even though as individuals you are both fabulous and amazing people, I must follow the integrity of my heart and beliefs."

Despite the kindly way she dealt with the situation, according to the Human Rights Commission, this baker may have breached the couple's rights.

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The commission's website reads: "It is unlawful to discriminate against anyone in New Zealand because of their sexual orientation . . . includ[ing] applying for a job, at work, in education and healthcare in government agencies' policies and practice and when you buy things or pay for services."

This is an awful situation for anyone to be put in - for both sides of this story.

No one wants to be forced to do something that goes against their beliefs, and no one should have to put up with discrimination for a legal activity.

But making small exceptions could quickly spiral out of control.

If we accept this baker not serving a gay couple, does that then make it okay for a Muslim to refuse to bake a cake for a Christian, or vice versa?

Will ultra-religious men be able to ban women from wearing shorts in their shops because they believe pants are sacrilegious on a woman, or that showing too much skin is against their religious beliefs?

Could, like in a recent case in the United States, a restaurant owner kick out a diner because of their differing political beliefs?

It's a quagmire that I think we should be trying to avoid altogether.

Our country is founded on a bedrock of fairness and equality for all. It's something I think we should all be striving to achieve.