Evangelican Christians, running a bakery in Belfast, were not obliged to make a cake emblazoned with the message "Support Gay Marriage", the UK Supreme Court has ruled on Wednesday.
The case has divided opinion in Northern Ireland since the incident took place in 2014, and courts have already twice ruled in favor of Gareth Lee, the LGBT rights activist who brought the initial discrimination claim.
The five justices on the Supreme Court — Lady Hale, Lord Mance, Lord Kerr, Lord Hodge and Lady Black — ruled that the Belfast bakery did not refuse Mr. Lee's cake order due to his sexual orientation and therefore there was no discrimination on those grounds.
Judgment has been handed down this morning in the case of Lee v Ashers Baking Company Ltd and others, and Two references by the Attorney General for Northern Ireland https://t.co/HqCpFYfAG4— UK Supreme Court (@UKSupremeCourt) October 10, 2018
Since 2004, the bakery has been run through Ashers Baking Company Ltd. Whose name was derived from Genesis 49:20: "Bread from Asher shall be rich and he shall yield royal dainties" — the court heard.
The owners of the bakery hold the religious belief that "the only form of full sexual expression which is consistent with Biblical teaching (and therefore acceptable to God) is that between a man and a woman within marriage."
"The bakers could not refuse to supply their goods to Mr. Lee because he was a gay man or supported gay marriage but that is quite different from obliging them to supply a cake iced with a message with which they profoundly disagreed," the ruling said.
The court decision prompted some discussion online.
I am not remotely religious/perfectly happy with gay right. In no way should this have been a lawsuit.. The company are well within their rights to turn down business. IF they were abusive about it then that's a different matter. I won't do work for anything I disagree with.— Prowl (@prowlmedia) October 10, 2018
Common sense is back! It mystified me they were complaining about discrimination, yet sought to actively discriminate against the religious beliefs held by another person! Double standards!!— LeaLoo (@Girl36Lee) October 10, 2018
Does this mean that Internet Service Providers or Social Media platforms, for example, can block communications that the owners disagree with? The "promotion" is very up-close and personal in the cake case; not obvious how this plays out for larger companies?— David Allsopp (@doublehelix) October 10, 2018
They refused to make a cake because it supported gay rights, gay rights are covered by the equalities act so it's a protected class, thus refusing to serve based on disagreement with a protected class is discrimination. Google the equalities act 2010 yo.— James (@J3Lyon) October 10, 2018
I'm as pro-gay-rights as they come, but I don't think a baker that doesn't support gay marriage should be forced to bake a cake with the slogan "Support Gay Marriage" on it. That seems 100% clear cut to me. Seems like the right decision. https://t.co/0lNYaaXoSq— 🦇 Liggi 🦇 (@Liggi) October 10, 2018
Following the announcement, Mr. Lee said he was "confused about what this actually means." He added that every single person would need certainty when going to a business.