By The Guardian. A Belfast bakery run by evangelical Christians was not obliged to make a cake emblazoned with the message “support gay marriage”, the supreme court has ruled, overturning a £500 damages award imposed on it.
The unanimous decision by the UK’s highest court was greeted as a victory for free speech but condemned by gay rights groups and the Equality Commission of Northern Ireland as a backward step in combating discrimination.
Ashers had refused to produce the cake, featuring the Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie, in 2014 for Gareth Lee, who supports the campaign to legalise same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. He wanted to take it to a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia.
The judgment, delivered after the supreme court’s first hearing in Northern Ireland in May, reverses earlier decisions in Belfast county court and a court of appeal ruling that the company discriminated against Lee, who is gay, on the grounds of sexual orientation.
The five justices on the supreme court – Lady Hale, Lord Mance, Lord Kerr, Lord Hodge and Lady Black – found the bakery did not refuse to fulfil Lee’s order because of his sexual orientation and therefore there was no discrimination on those grounds. The business relationship between Lee and Ashers did not involve people being refused jobs or services because of their religious faith, the judges added. (Read more from “UK Supreme Court Makes Unanimous Decision, Backs Bakery That Refused to Make Gay Marriage Cake” HERE)
The Supreme Court’s Ruling on the ‘Gay Cake’ Row Is a Victory for Common Sense
By Telegraph. The decision of the Supreme Court in the great “gay cake” row is a victory not just for common sense but for freedom of expression. The affair began four years ago when a customer ordered a £36 sponge cake from Ashers bakery in Northern Ireland which refused his order.
They did so not because he was gay but because they objected to the political slogan on the cake in support of gay marriage. (Read more from “The Supreme Court’s Ruling on the ‘Gay Cake’ Row Is a Victory for Common Sense” HERE)