Supreme court rules in favour of bakery in 'gay cake' case

Remigio Civitarese
Ottobre 11, 2018

A Christian family-owned bakery has successfully appealed a judgment that it was guilty of discriminating against an LGBT activist by not baking a cake supporting same-sex "marriage".

In a judgement delivered in London, the Supreme Court ruled that the refusal of Ashers bakery in Belfast to make the so-called "gay cake" was not discriminatory.

LGBT activist Gareth Lee came into the bakery and requested a custom cake depicting Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street with the motto "Support Gay Marriage".

Judge Brenda Hale said Wednesday that their objection was to the message on the cake, not to the personal characteristics of the customer. "But that is not what happened in this case", Lady Hale said.

The province's Equality Commission, which backed Lee's case, said it was disappointed with the judgment and the implications that the beliefs of business owners may take precedence over a customer's equality rights.

"We're particularly pleased", he said, "[that] the Supreme Court emphatically accepted what we've said all along; we did not turn down this order because of the person who made it, but because of the message itself".

He argued, "To me, this was never about conscience or a statement".

"As well as meaning that Asher's 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", Mr Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, said.

The US supreme court arrived at a similar conclusion in June when it ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to produce a wedding cake for a gay couple in 2012.

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.

Strongly underlining the law on compelled speech, the judges also quoted a previous case which said: "Nobody should be forced to have or express a political opinion in which he does not believe".

Freedom of expression, as guaranteed by article 10 of the European convention on human rights, includes the right "not to express an opinion which one does not hold", Hale added.

Overturning a lower court's ruling of discrimination, the high court determined in a 5-0 ruling that Ashers Backing Co. rejected the message, which it has a right to do, not the messenger.

"I want to start by thanking God".

Lee sued the bakery for "discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and political beliefs", the BBC reported.

The bakery spent £200,000 on legal fees - which will be covered by a charity called The Christian Institute.

Gay marriage is still illegal in Northern Ireland, despite passing in the Assembly.

"The name of the bakery comes from a verse in the Book of Genesis which my father read when he was about 15", Daniel McArthur told the Belfast Telegraph in 2016.

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.

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