“Why should the law favour people of a gay orientation and not deal with me the same way?” asked the mystery Dublin complainant. “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander”.
The unnamed client said he was motivated to take the case under the Equal Status Act, following the 2016 ruling against a Northern Irish bakery, Ashers, which was fined for refusing to bake a cake with a pro-marriage equality message.
“Why should the law favour people of a gay orientation and not deal with me the same way?” asked the mystery complainant. “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander”.
A case was brought against Ashers Bakery by Northern Ireland’s Equality Commission in 2015 after they refused to bake a cake for LGBT activists Gareth Lee, which was to feature a picture of Sesame Street characters Burt and Ernie, and the slogan: ‘Support Gay Marriage’.
Karen McArthur, one of the Asher’s founders, initially accepted the order for the cake, before calling Lee to tell him the message and graphic clashed with their religious beliefs.
Lee testified that the refusal made him feel like “a lesser person” and after an unsucessful appeal in 2016, Ashers were fined £500.
The message requested by the mystery complainant in the Dublin case was significantly more detailed and riddled with uppercase, lower case, random bits of punctuation and perhaps unsurprisingly, many grammatical errors.
“BY THE GRACE OF THE GOOD LORD, I (name redacted), that in my honest opinion – ‘GAY MARRIAGE’ IS A PERVERSION OF EQUALITY and the 34th Amendment to the Irish Constitution should be REPEALED.” The client ordered the cake in May of 2016, reports The Irish Times.
After receiving the order the bakery told the client that they were too busy to take on any more bespoke cake requests. This led to a fraught series of communications between the client and the company (the Times reports that the company’s managing director told the client that their “lengthy and aggressive communications were a burden on the company’s resources and on staff morale”)
Speaking at the hearing, the managing director said that while the bakery had no problem completing the wording, the overall design was very complex and contained 49 words – a far greater word-count than an average cake.
Adjudication officer Ian Barrett ruled that insufficient evidence was supplied to prove that the bakery had refused the order on religious grounds. As such, the case was dismissed.
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