Ashers Baking Co judgment due Thursday 7 May

The judgment on the Ashers Baking Company case is to be given in open court on Thursday 7 May.

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland took the Christian-run bakery to court, claiming it broke discrimination laws by declining to decorate a pro-gay marriage campaign cake.

District Judge Isobel Brownlie heard the case over three days at Belfast County Court last month, which attracted widespread media attention.

Consequences

During the hearing, David Scoffield QC who represented Ashers, laid out possible consequences of a defeat for the bakery, drawing on a legal opinion from Aidan O’Neill QC.

This suggested that a Muslim printer who refused to print cartoons of Mohammed would also have no defence if Ashers were to lose their case.

However, Robin Allen QC for the Equality Commission, said if a Muslim printer did not want to print such cartoons then he should stop printing all other cartoons.

Legal support

The court was also reminded that Ashers did not know the sexual orientation of Gareth Lee, the customer who asked for the cake.

After the trial, Ashers’ General Manager Daniel McArthur praised God for sustaining his family.

Ashers is being given legal support by The Christian Institute’s Legal Defence Fund.

Thousands

Ahead of the hearing, thousands of people packed into the Waterfront Hall in Belfast to hear Daniel McArthur talk about his experience.

Hundreds who were unable to get into the venue stood outside and sang hymns in the cold.

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