‘Most expensive cake in UK history’: Ashers win gay cake appeal
It’s been dubbed “the most expensive cake in UK history”, but it might be all over, as the highest court in the UK has ruled in favor of a Belfast bakery at the centrer of a long-running legal case.
The “gay cake” case saw Ashers Baking co refusing to make a a cake featuring the words “Support Gay Marriage”. The dispute began in 2014 when Gareth Lee, a gay rights activist who supports the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, placed his order.
The owners claimed they would have refused the same order from a heterosexual client, the UK Supreme Court ruled the Christian owners were not obliged to make the cake, and the legal fees for the case estimated to be more than $800,000. All for a cake that would have cost around $66.
In a unanimous decision, five of the UK’s most senior judges upheld Ashers’ appeal against claims of discrimination.
The comprehensive ruling upholds free speech and prevents the law forcing businesses to express views with which they profoundly disagree.
Repeated throughout the judgment is the Court’s finding that the family’s objection “was to the message, not the messenger”.
Responding to the judges’ ruling this morning, Daniel McArthur, Ashers’ General Manager, expressed his delight outside the Court.
He said: “We’re delighted and relieved at today’s ruling. We always knew we hadn’t done anything wrong in turning down this order. After more than four years, the Supreme Court has now recognized that and we’re very grateful. Grateful to the judges and especially grateful to God.
“We’re particularly pleased the Supreme Court emphatically accepted what we’ve said all along – we did not turn down this order because of the person who made it, but because of the message itself.”
After the bakery told him the cake would not be made, Mr Lee successfully sued for discrimination in Belfast and won a subsequent court of appeal ruling.
Ashers argued it had only objected to the message on the cake because it was “inconsistent” with the company’s religious views.
It claimed it would have refused the same order from a heterosexual client.
The president of the Supreme Court, Lady Hale, agreed with that argument and found the bakery did not refuse to fulfill the order because of Mr Lee’s sexual orientation.
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