The infamous Northern Irish ‘Gay Cake’ case will reach it’s final end-point next week, as five Supreme Court judges will hear an appeal from Asher’s Bakery, who are challenging a ruling that they breached equality laws by refusing to make the cake for an activist, Gareth Lee.
The original case began in March 2015, when Lee told Belfast County Court that he ordered a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto ‘Support Gay Marriage’ from Ashers Bakery in May 2014, before receiving a call later that day telling him that they would not be processing the order on “religious grounds”.
Lee, a volunteer at LGBT organisation Queerspace, told the court that the refusal “made me feel I’m not worthy, a lesser person and to me that was wrong.”
District Judge Isobel Brownlie ruled that Ashers had unlawfully discriminated against Lee based on the grounds of his sexual orientation. The owners of Asher’s, the McArthur family, appealed but the original decision was upheld, with the presiding judges ruling that baking the cake did not necessarily mean endorsing its message and that bakers could not choose customers according to their religious beliefs.
Ashers Bakery had incurred legal fees of £200,000 to that point but had been financially supported by The Christian Institute, who have gone on to help fund the bakery’s Supreme Court appeal.
In the run-up to the Supreme Court hearing, the first of its kind to come to Northern Ireland, the Christian Institute are holding a series of meetings around Northern Ireland to brief supporters of the Bakery.
Five of the court’s 12 judges will travel to Belfast to hear the appeal including the president of the Supreme Court, Lady Hale, as well as Lord Kerr, who was born in Lurgan and is a former lord chief justice of Northern Ireland.
© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.