The Judge in the legal battle between a bakery and the gay rights activist whose cake order it refused on religious grounds has reserved judgement in the landmark case.
For the past three days, Belfast’s Laganside Court heard arguments from legal representatives for Ashers bakery and those for activist Gareth Lee.
The case was brought against Ashers by Northern Ireland’s Equality Commission after the bakery refused to bake a cake for Lee bearing a slogan which supported gay marriage.
The bakery initially accepted the order for the cake, before calling Lee to tell him the message and graphic clash their religious beliefs. Robin Allen QC representing Lee told the court, “But for the word gay this order would have been fulfilled. This case is direct discrimination.”
Representatives for both sides argued about the significance of the refusal. David Scoffield QC, representing Ashers, outlined potential hypothetical cases that may arise, should Lee be successful in his case.
“If the plaintiff is right,” said Scoffield, ”a Muslim printer could not decline printing a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad. An atheist baker could not decline baking a cake with the slogan God made the world in six days.”
Judge Isobel Brownlie told the court on the third day of the case that she wanted to give full consideration to the evidence. “It is not a straightforward area of the law. Obviously, this is a case in which I propose to reserve my judgement.”
A judgement in the case is expected to take several weeks.
(video from Belfast Telegraph)
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