Ashers Baking Co appeal hearing set for 3 February

Ashers Baking Company’s legal challenge is set to be heard on 3 February by the Court of Appeal in Belfast.

Today Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan agreed to list the case for a two-day hearing, after Ashers lodged an appeal against the County Court judgment earlier this year.

In May, Judge Isobel Brownlie ruled that the Christian-run bakery had acted unlawfully by declining to decorate a cake with a pro-gay marriage campaign slogan and ordered Ashers to pay £500 in damages.

Faith in the workplace

The McArthur family, who own and run Ashers, have said they hope a successful appeal will allow “us and other Christians to live out their faith in Jesus Christ in every part of their lives, including their workplace”.

The McArthurs are being supported by The Christian Institute’s Legal Defence Fund.

The grounds for appeal include questioning whether the judge was correct in saying the bakery had discriminated on grounds of sexual orientation, religious belief or political opinion.

No relevance

The family have consistently stated that they had no knowledge of the customer’s sexual orientation and that it would have had no relevance to their decision.

The appeal also questions whether the judge was right to refuse to grant the McArthur family’s belief protection under the European Convention on Human Rights.