Ashers Baking Company in Northern Ireland was taken to court by a gay activist, Gareth Lee, for refusing to make a cake with a pro- gay marriage slogan.
The firm was found to have been discriminating against Lee on the grounds of sexual orientation and political belief. Although it was accepted that the refusal was based on the Bakery’s religious views, the Bakery was held not to be above the law.
In stating that they “have done nothing wrong” but merely “acted according to what the Bible teaches”, Ashers stated that they would appeal the £500 costs judgment handed down last Tuesday.
The case highlights the tensions in the UK between equality law and freedom of conscience for those who are against gay marriage on religious grounds.
Paul Givan, member of the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland has stated that the Northern Irish judiciary has introduced a ‘conscience clause’ through its judgment in the case, commenting:
“What we cannot have is a hierarchy of rights, and today there’s a clear hierarchy being established that gay rights are more important than the rights of people to hold religious beliefs.”
Stay tuned- update on the appeal to follow!!