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Christian bakery takes appeal to Supreme Court

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This week saw Ashers Baking Company bringing their case to the UK Supreme Court. The bakery is appealing against the ruling that by declining to decorate a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan, they were breaking the law.
In May 2015 it was ruled that Ashers had broken sexual orientation and discrimination laws. Following this ruling, the McArthur family, who own and run Ashers launched an appeal.
In October 2016 the Court of Appeal acknowledged that service was not refused because of the customers sexual orientation, but because the slogan, “Support Gay Marriage” was in direct contradiction with the family’s Christian beliefs. However the final ruling was that the refusal by the company was direct discrimination.
The family are now appealing this ruling in the UK Supreme Court.
“We didn’t say no because of the customer, we’d served him before and we’d gladly serve him again, it was because of the message, this has always been because of the message,” Daniel McArthur, managing director of Ashers said. “Some people want the law to make us support something with which we disagree. The Equality Commission [for Northern Ireland] has pushed for an interpretation of the law which extinguishes our conscience. They think that some people are more equal than others.
“This is not what the law is designed to do. Many people across our whole society are worried about what this could mean. The general public can see this, and that is way they have supported us so strongly over the last four years.”
The McArthur’s appeal has been supported by the Christian Institute - but many others, including homosexual rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell have argued that the Ashers Bakery should be free not to promote a message they disagree with.
“In my view, it is an infringement of freedom to require businesses to aid the promotion of ideas to which they conscientiously object. Discrimination against people should be unlawful, but not against ideas.” he wrote for the Guardian. “[The] cake request was refused not because [the customer] was gay, but because of the message he asked for. There is no evidence that his sexuality was the reason Ashers declined his order.”
A ruling on the appeal is expected by February 2019.


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