The Gay Cake , UK Supreme Court rules in favour of Ashers Bakery
Gareth Lee , An LGBT activist and member of the LGBT group Queer Space had insisted the couple bake a cake topped with the message "support gay marriage"
When the couple refused on the grounds of their religous convictions Mr Lee took legal action against Ashers Bakery with the help of the Northern Ireland Equality Commission and won his case
Judge Isobel Brownlie ruled at that time : -
The defendants have unlawfully discriminated against the plaintiff on grounds of sexual discrimination. This is direct discrimination for which there can be no justification.They are in a business supplying services to all. The law requires them to do just that
- Judge Ruling
The couple appealed that ruling to the Court of appeal in Belfast but lost that appeal in October 2016 with the appeal court ruling that the initial judgement was correct and Ashers Bakery had ... "discriminated against the respondent directly on the grounds of sexual orientation contrary to the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2006 ".
The Asher's subsequently appealed that ruling to the UK's highest court , the Supreme Court .
Today Five Supreme Court Justices agreed unanimously that there was no discrimination by the Ashers Bakery .
Reading out the ruling in court , Supreme Court Judge Lady Hale said :
They would have refused to make such a cake for any customer, irrespective of their sexual orientation
Their objection was to the message on the cake, not to the personal characteristics of Mr Lee
The Bakers objection was to the message on the Cake and not to the Man . It was not that Mr Lee was being refused a Job or accomodation or baked goods in general because of his political opinion . The evidence was that the Bakers were quite willing to employ and to serve gay people
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
Accordingly, this court holds that there was no discrimination on the ground of the sexual orientation of Mr Lee
- Supreme Court Ruling
Outside the Court Ashers bakery's general manager Daniel McArthur said he was delighted and relieved by the ruling
I know a lot of people will be glad to hear this ruling today, because this ruling protects freedom of speech and freedom of conscience for everyone
- Daniel McArthur , Ashers bakery
The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, which had supported Gareth Lee's action against Ashers, said it would study the implications of the judgement carefully ... "There is a concern that this judgement may raise uncertainty about the application of equality law in the commercial sphere, both about what businesses can do and what customers may expect," said Dr Michael Wardlow, the organisation's chief commissioner.