Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Supreme Court rules in favour of Belfast bakery in ‘gay cake’ case

  • Deborah McAleese was live in London:

The Christian owners of a bakery in Belfast have won a Supreme Court appeal over a finding that they discriminated against a customer by refusing to make a cake decorated with the words "Support Gay Marriage".

Five Supreme Court justices allowed a challenge by the McArthur family in a unanimous ruling in London on Wednesday in what has become widely known as the "gay cake case".

The legal action was originally brought against family-run Ashers bakery in Belfast by gay rights activist Gareth Lee, who won his case initially in the county court and then at the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal.

Sorry, this content isn't available on your device.

Announcing the court's decision, its president, Lady Hale, said: "This conclusion is not in any way to diminish the need to protect gay people and people who support gay marriage from discrimination.

"It is deeply humiliating, and an affront to human dignity, to deny someone a service because of that person's race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief.

"But that is not what happened in this case."

She went on: "As to Mr Lee's claim based on sexual discrimination, 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."

The court also said Mr Lee had no claim against Ashers on the grounds of religious belief or political opinion.

Sorry, this content isn't available on your device.

Lady Hale added: "The bakers could not refuse to supply their goods to Mr Lee because he was a gay man or supported gay marriage, but that is quite different from obliging them to supply a cake iced with a message with which they profoundly disagreed."

Daniel and Amy McArthur, who have said the law risked "extinguishing" their consciences, were in court for the ruling.

Mr Lee was also present for the latest ruling in a case which has attracted enormous attention.

The bakery's appeal against the finding of discrimination was heard at the Supreme Court sitting in Belfast in May.