Case History

The McArthur family own and run Ashers bakery. They were pursued through the courts by the taxpayer-funded Equality Commission for Northern Ireland when they turned down an order for a same-sex marriage camapign cake because it conflicted with their Christian belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.

On 10 October 2018 Ashers Baking Co won its case at the Supreme Court.

In May 2018 the UK Supreme Court heard Ashers Baking Company’s case. The family-run bakery was appealing against a ruling which said it broke the law by declining to decorate a cake with a pro-gay marriage campaign slogan.

The ruling, handed down on 10 October 2018, saw the judges unanimously vindicate the bakery.

The protracted and costly legal action was brought by the taxpayer-funded Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI).

Initially, in May 2015, District Judge Brownlie ruled that Ashers Baking Company broke sexual orientation and political discrimination laws. The family appealed.

At the Court of Appeal hearing in October 2016 judges recognised the fact that the family did not refuse the service because Mr Lee was gay, but nonetheless ruled that refusing the order because of its slogan “was direct discrimination”.

The case, which demonstrated the need for the law to reasonably accommodate family-run businesses with firmly-held beliefs, has been backed throughout by The Christian Institute’s Legal Defence Fund.

If you are a Christian and you are taking a stand for religious freedom, it’s The Christian Institute you want standing with you.

Daniel McArthur

Supreme Court Judgment: 10 October

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