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Christian bakers lose appeal as Appeal Court upholds discrimination claim

The Northern Ireland Court of Appeal had handed down its decision in the much publicised Gay Cake case, more accurate known as Lee v McArthur, McArthur and Ashers Baking Company Ltd. The Court upheld the previous decision of the County Court ruling that Mr Lee was discriminated against after the bakers’ refusal to bake a cake that included the slogan “Support gay marriage”.

The bakers objected to the cake on religious grounds and argued that baking the cake with the slogan would amount to them endorsing gay marriage, which they opposed. The Judge in the case drew comparisons (not surprising perhaps given the time of year that the judgment was issued) that baking a Hallowe’en cake could not be seen as support for witchcraft.  No doubt Harry Potter fans will breathe a sigh of relief.

Such cases are often seen as a battle between two competing rights, most often the right to free speech. Other examples can include public rallies and the right of individuals to support positions that the majority often do not agree with or may find offensive. The Court in this case held that the McArthur’s right to free speech was not being infringed.

Both parties received support during the case with Mr Lee being supported by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland while the bakery receiving support from The Christian Institute.

The decision of the Appeal Case can be found here and the original decision from the County Court can be found here

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