Supreme Court Rules in ‘Gay Cake’ Case
In a unanimous judgment, the Supreme Court has ruled that a bakery in Northern Ireland’s refusal to make a cake bearing a slogan in support of same-sex marriage was not discriminatory.
The legal battle began four years ago after Ashers bakery, a family-run business based in County Antrim, refused to make a cake decorated with the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie, with the message ‘Support Gay Marriage’, that had been ordered by gay rights activist Gareth Lee.
The branch in Belfast where Mr Lee had placed his order originally accepted the commission, but the company’s head office later contacted him to inform him that his request would not be fulfilled after all. The reason given was that the slogan was inconsistent with the Christian owners’ religious beliefs. Their position was that they would have refused to bake the same cake for any customer, whatever their sexual orientation.
In ruling on the case, the Supreme Court found that Ashers’ decision not to fulfil Mr Lee’s order was because of their objections to the message he had requested. There was therefore no discrimination on the grounds of his sexual orientation.
The president of the Supreme Court, Lady Hale, went on to make clear, “This conclusion is not in any way to diminish the need to protect gay people and people who support gay marriage from discrimination.
It is deeply humiliating, and an affront to human dignity, to deny someone a service because of that person’s race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief.
“But that is not what happened in this case.”