UK Supreme Court rules in favour of Belfast bakery in "gay cake" dispute
The case has lasted more than four years.
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom has ruled that Ashers Bakery's refusal to make a cake with a slogan supporting same-sex marriage was not discriminatory.
The Belfast bakery has been at the centre of a years-long legal dispute that has seen them accused of acting in a discriminatory way by refusing the order of gay rights activist Gareth Lee.
In 2014, the bakery refused to bake a cake embroidered with the slogan 'Support Gay Marriage'. Lee went on to sue the company for discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and political beliefs.
The bakery, managed by the McArthur family, had argued that it would not print the slogan for religious reasons, but asserted that their refusal to do so was not discriminatory — as they would have refused to print the slogan had a straight customer asked them to do so as well.
Today, the Supreme Court found in favour of the bakery. The judgment noted: "The rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion (article 9) and to freedom of expression (article 10) were clearly engaged by this case.
"They include the right not to be obliged to manifest beliefs one does not hold. The McArthurs could not refuse to provide their products to Mr Lee because he was a gay man or because he supported gay marriage, but that was different from obliging them to supply a cake iced with a message with which they profoundly disagreed."
Gay marriage is still illegal in Northern Ireland, despite passing in the Assembly. It was struck down by the DUP, who used a "petition of concern" to veto it.