Christians win high Court case over Gay Marriage cake

Created on: 10th October 2018

At last some justification for Christians who want to live out their faith in business and the community. The Christian owners of a bakery have won an appeal at the UK's highest court over a finding that they discriminated against a customer by refusing to make a cake decorated with the words "Support Gay Marriage".

Five Supreme Court justices allowed a challenge by the McArthur family in a unanimous ruling in London on Wednesday in what has become widely known as the "gay cake case".

The legal action was originally brought against family-run Ashers bakery in Belfast by gay rights activist Gareth Lee, who won his case initially in the county court and then at the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal.

Announcing the court's decision, its president, Lady Hale, said: "This conclusion is not in any way to diminish the need to protect gay people and people who support gay marriage from discrimination.

"But that is not what happened in this case."

She went on: "As to Mr Lee's claim based on sexual discrimination, the bakers did not refuse to fulfil his order because of his sexual orientation.

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

The court also said Mr Lee had no claim against Ashers on the grounds of religious belief or political opinion, but speaking outside of court, the customer said: "This was never a campaign. I had no idea when I ordered the cake that this would happen."

He said that the ruling made him feel like a "second class citizen" in Northern Ireland, adding: "I think this has consequences for everyone. Anyone can walk into a shop - you shouldn't have to work out if you're going to be served based on their religious beliefs. I am confused."

Ashers general manager Mr McArthur thanked God outside court, saying he knew all along he had done nothing wrong. 

Lady Hale added: "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."

Daniel and Amy McArthur, who have said the law risked "extinguishing" their consciences, were in court for the ruling.

Mr Lee was also present for the latest ruling in a case which has attracted enormous attention.

The bakery's appeal against the finding of discrimination was heard at the Supreme Court sitting in Belfast in May.

During the hearing the justices were told that the owners were being forced to act against their religious beliefs.

David Scoffield QC, for Ashers, argued that the state was penalising the baking firm, with the courts effectively compelling or forcing them to make a cake bearing a message with which they disagree as a matter of religious conscience.

The legal action against Ashers was taken by Mr Lee with support from Northern Ireland's Equality Commission.

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.

His order was accepted and he paid in full but, two days later, the company called to say it could not proceed due to the message requested.

Posted by Amanda Hopkins

Extract from www.bbc.co.uk 

Your Comments

posted by john on 15-10-18

One small victory in a very big campiegn.


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