A ruling against Asher’s bakery, who refused to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage message, has been upheld by the Belfast Court of Appeal.
The Appeal judges, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan and Lord Justices Weatherup and Weir, found that the Chrisitian company had discriminated against gay man, Gareth Lee on grounds of sexual orientation contrary to the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2006.
The company was fined £500 by Belfast County Court last year for refusing to bake a cake with the slogan “Support Gay Marriage” featuring Sesame Street characters Ernie and Bert, saying it contradicted its conscientious religious beliefs. The decision sparked controversy, and gay celebrities weighed in with their opinions.
One of Ashers’ six shops in the Belfast area originally accepted Lee’s cake order but later refused to bake it. Mr Lee took the successful case against Ashers, supported by Northern Ireland’s Equality Commission.
The appeal judges ruled that baking the cake did not necessarily mean endorsing its message, and that bakers could not choose customers according to their religious beliefs.
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