Supreme Court Rules In Favour Of Bakers In 'Gay Cake' Case

Lester Mason
October 11, 2018

The Christian owners of a bakery in Belfast have won a Supreme Court appeal over a finding that they discriminated against a customer by refusing to make a cake decorated with the words "Support Gay Marriage".

Controversy first flared when Mr Lee, a member of the LGBT advocacy group QueerSpace, ordered a cake in 2014 featuring Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia.

It failed in an appeal to the local courts in 2016 but the Supreme Court, the UK's highest judicial body, overturned that decision on Wednesday, saying the bakers' objection was to the message on the cake, not to any personal characteristics of the messenger, or anyone with whom he was associated. "But that is not what happened in this case", Lady Hale said.

Ashers, owned by Daniel's parents Colin and Karen McArthur, refused to make the cake because it carried a message contrary to the family's firmly-held Christian beliefs. As well as meaning that Ashers can not be legally forced to aid the promotion of same-sex marriage, it also means that gay bakers can not be compelled by law to decorate cakes with anti-gay marriage slogans.

In its judgement, the court also referenced the US Supreme Court decision in the Masterpiece Bakery case, which cleared the baker of refusing to serve a gay couple.

"Although I profoundly disagree with Ashers' opposition to marriage equality, in a free society neither they nor anyone else should be forced to facilitate a political idea that they oppose. If and to the extent that there was discrimination on grounds of political opinion, no justification has been shown for the compelled speech which would be entailed for imposing civil liability for refusing to fulfil the order", the court added.

Daniel and Amy McArthur of Ashers Bakery.

"We always knew we hadn't done anything wrong in turning down this order", he told reporters outside the court. "I'm concerned that this has implications for myself and for every single person".

Not so, says the U.K. Supreme court in its ruling.

The court said the situation was more akin to a Christian printing business being required to print leaflets promoting an atheist message.

"The immediate effect of the ruling is to create legal uncertainty with regards to what constitutes discriminatory practice within Northern Ireland".

"They would have refused to make such a cake for any customer, irrespective of their sexual orientation".

McArthur said he was delighted and relieved by the ruling, the BBC reported.

Queer Space is an organisation, which seeks to increase the visibility of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) Community in a positive manner to counteract the disregard, and negative images presented to the general public.

Lee, a gay rights activist, sued the company for discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and political beliefs.

Everett Collection/NewscomThe United Kingdom's highest court ruled Wednesday that a baker can not be forced to bake a cake with a pro-gay message on it.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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