Supreme Court Rules In Favour Of Bakers In 'Gay Cake' Case
The highest court in the UK has ruled in favour of a bakery that refused to make a cake decorated with a message in support of gay marriage.
Five Supreme Court justices in London ruled that Ashers Bakery were within their legal rights to refuse to make the cake that would have had the message "Support Gay Marriage" on it for activist Gareth Lee back in 2014.
Ashers refused to make the cake based upon their evangelical Christian beliefs but were taken to court and ordered to pay £500 damages. That has now been overturned, along with the ruling.
This judgement follows cases in the Belfast county court, the court of appeal, and another hearing in Northern Ireland back in May.
In this case, five supreme court justices - Lady Hale, Lord Kerr, Lord Mance, Lady Black, and Lord Hodge - found that the bakery did not discriminate against Mr Lee and didn't refuse his order based upon his sexual orientation.
That means there was no discrimination on that front. They also decided that no-one was refused services or work based upon their religious beliefs, and therefore ruled in favour of Ashers.
In judgement, Lady Hale said: "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 or any of the other protected personal characteristics,
"But that is not what happened in this case and it does the project of equal treatment no favours to seek to extend it beyond its proper scope."
Under the European Convention on Human Rights, no person can be forced to express a political opinion that they don't hold. It is these grounds upon which the ruling was made.
Lady Hale continued: "This court has held that 'nobody should be forced to have or express a political opinion in which he does not believe.
"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."
After the court ruled in favour of the bakers, Mr Lee said: "I'm very confused about what this actually means. We need certainty when you go to a business. I'm concerned that this has implications for myself and for every single person."
He also said that he is looking at several options, including appealing to the European Court of Human Rights.
The bakery spent £200,000 on legal fees - which will be covered by a charity called The Christian Institute.
The Equality Commission also spent more than £250,000 of public money on the case.
The cake itself cost £36.50.
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