Published: Thu, October 11, 2018

Christian bakers win court fight after rejecting gay marriage cake

Christian bakers win court fight after rejecting gay marriage cake

He continued: "Although I profoundly disagree with Asher's opposition to marriage equality, in a free society neither they nor anyone else should be forced to facilitate a political idea that they oppose".

Mr Lee, with support from Northern Ireland's Equality Commission, took the Christians to the county court and then at the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal, which sided with the complainant alleging the McArthurs had "unlawfully discriminated".

The Court of Appeal in Belfast upheld that decision in 2016.

Hale explained that the law should not "compel" the bakers to violate their religious beliefs and endorse gay marriage. We always knew we hadn't done anything wrong in turning down this order.

The decision was read on Wednesday (October 10) in London, four years after Lee, an LGBT activist with Queer Space, paid the Northern Ireland-based bakery to make a cake to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

"The judges have given a clear signal today... This includes the right to refuse messages that are sexist, xenophobic or anti-gay, which is a good thing". "Family businesses like ours are free to focus on giving all their customers the best service they can without being forced to promote other people's campaigns". The LGBT activist retaliated by filing a complaint with the United Kingdom's Equality Commission for Northern Ireland - despite getting the order fulfilled at another bakery.

The five judges ruled that the business relationship between the prospective buyer, Gareth Lee, and vendor, Ashers Baking, did not involve people being refused jobs or services due to their religious faith, political affliation or sexual orientation.

It also raises the prospect that "the beliefs of business owners may take precedence over a customer's equality rights, which in our view is contrary to what the legislature intended", he said.

In June, the US Supreme Court ruled in favour of a Colorado baker who cited religious reasons when refusing a request to make a cake for a gay couple.

The Supreme Court judges have overturned previous court judgements which stated Ashers was unlawful.

He said the "issue of political and religious discrimination is direct" and the ramifications are "potentially enormous".

The Rainbow Project, Northern Ireland's largest support organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, expressed its disappointment at the Supreme Court ruling.

McArthur told reporters today that he was grateful to the judges and grateful to God for the ruling.

The equality laws are meant to protect people against discrimination.

Lee went on to sue the company for discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and political beliefs.

"This matter has also damaged community relations with vested interests attempting to portray it as a battle between those of faith versus those of differing sexual orientation". "There is no evidence that his sexuality was the reason Ashers declined his order", he wrote.

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