A Belfast bakery did not discriminate against a gay man when it refused to bake a cake with a message supporting gay marriage, the British supreme court has ruled by a unanimous 5-0 judgement.
The court found that Ashers bakery, whose owners Daniel and Amy McArthur are Christians, did not discriminate against the man and did not refuse to bake the cake for Gareth Lee because of his sexual orientation, religious belief or political opinion.
The president of the supreme court, Lady Hale, said: “The bakers did not refuse to fulfil his order because of his sexual orientation. They would have refused to make such a cake for any customer, irrespective of their sexual orientation. Their objection was to the message on the cake, not to the personal characteristics of Mr Lee.” She added: “Accordingly, this court holds that there was no discrimination on the ground of the sexual orientation of Mr Lee.”
The avowedly liberal, pro-gay marriage, writer and journalist, Fionola Meredith, welcomed the ruling and called the case costly, divisive and ill-advised. She was an early supporter of Ashers when the case first made the headlines. On Thursday she wrote that that support cost her ‘a few “liberal” friends: proponents of selective tolerance, who clearly aren’t as liberal as they like to think they are.’
‘To some, standing up for Mr and Mrs on this particular issue was an act of hateful, even fascistic betrayal. A fellow journalist informed me that my views “put me to the right of the DUP”.’