The UK Supreme Court has confirmed that it will sit in Belfast to hear arguments in the Ashers Baking Company case.
It will be the first time the Court has ever sat in Northern Ireland.
Supported by The Christian Institute’s Legal Defence Fund, Ashers is defending itself from a lawsuit brought by the taxpayer-funded Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI).
Starting on 30 April 2018, five of the UK’s most senior judges will consider initial arguments ahead of the possible appeal. It had been originally scheduled for the autumn of 2017, but has now been confirmed for spring next year.
The Supreme Court said that Lady Hale, President of the Court, will hear the case, alongside Deputy President Lord Mance, Lord Kerr, Lord Hodge and Lady Black.
And for the first time, the court will base itself in Northern Ireland – sitting in the Inns of Court Library at the Royal Courts of Justice.
The ‘gay cake’ case began in 2014 when volunteer LGBT activist Gareth Lee asked for a cake to be decorated with the slogan “Support Gay Marriage”.
The McArthur family, who own the bakery, recognised that printing the campaign slogan would go against their sincerely-held Christian beliefs that marriage is between a man and a woman.
They declined the order, but the ECNI sued on behalf of Mr Lee.
In May 2015, a District Judge ruled that Ashers Baking Company broke sexual orientation and political discrimination laws by declining the order.
At the Court of Appeal hearing in October 2016, judges ruled that refusing the order because of its slogan “was direct discrimination”, despite agreeing that the family did not refuse the service because Mr Lee was gay.
Last year, Daniel and Amy McArthur spoke about their faith in God, in a television interview.
‘God our rock’
Amy told Sky News that it has been “a hard time but God has been our rock and it’s just through our trust in Him that we’ve been able to be unshaken and unmoved by it”.
Daniel spoke of how their views on marriage are based on the unchanging word of God and that they never set out to offend anyone.
If you wish to show your support for the McArthur family, please sign the Ashers petition.
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