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Christian bakery Ashers to take gay cake case to Supreme Court

Wed 10 May 2017
By Alex Williams

A Christian-owned bakery in Northern Ireland found to have breached equality laws by refusing to make a cake supporting gay marriage is taking its case to the UK's highest court.

Ashers Bakery Company has learned it can appeal to the UK Supreme Court in central London during a two-day hearing scheduled for October this year.

Daniel McArthur, the general manager of Ashers, said: "The fact that the Supreme Court is willing to hear arguments is very encouraging and reflects the importance of the issues and the high-profile nature of the case."

Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Gareth Lee 

 

The bakery was approached in May 2014 by gay rights activist Gareth Lee, who placed an order for a cake bearing the slogan "Support Gay Marriage in 2014".

Ashers initially accepted the order, however it contacted Mr Lee two days later to say staff could not proceed with the order due to the message requested.

During the first court case, District Judge Isobel Brownlie ruled the law could not be dictated by religious beliefs and ordered Ashers to pay £500 in damages.

Brian Lawless/PA Wire

 

Representing Ashers, Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy took their case to the Court of Appeal in October last year, however the move was unsuccessful.

Launching an appeal, Ashers argued it had not objected to Mr Lee's sexuality, rather the message he had requested for the cake. They argued it was inconsistent with their deeply-held religious beliefs.

Mr Lee, who is a member of the LGBT advocacy group Queer Space, took legal action against Ashers with the support of Northern Ireland's Equality Commission.

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