Britain's Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Anti-Gay Bakers

Daniel and Amy Mc Arthur say they have felt 'victimised'

Daniel and Amy Mc Arthur say they have felt 'victimised'

Freedom of expression, as guaranteed by article 10 of the European convention on human rights, includes the right "not to express an opinion which one does not hold", Hale added.

Ashers bakery owners Daniel and Amy McArthur outside the Supreme Court in London, where five justices unanimously ruled on Wednesday that the Christian owners did not discriminate against gay rights activist Gareth Lee on the ground of sexual orientation.

The Court of Appeal in Belfast upheld that decision in 2016.

It was activist Gareth Lee who demanded the gay-themed cake.

Controversy first flared when Lee, a member of the LGBT advocacy group QueerSpace, ordered a cake in 2014 featuring Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia.

"The judges have given a clear signal today", he said.

But the ruling was hailed by the socially conservative Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the province's largest party that props up Britain's minority government and has blocked attempts to legalise gay marriage in the province. "Family businesses like ours are free to focus on giving all their customers the best service they can without being forced to promote other people's campaigns".

The legal action against Ashers was taken by Lee with support from Northern Ireland's Equality Commission.

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, which backed Mr Lee, argued that the message on the cake was associated with his support for law reform.

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"To me, this was never about a campaign or a statement".

Ashers, owned by Daniel's parents Colin and Karen McArthur, refused to make the cake because it carried a message contrary to the family's firmly-held Christian beliefs.

Similar to the Masterpiece Cakeshop case in which baker Jack Philips was persecuted by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the Ashers Baking Company had been warned by the Northern Irish Equality Commission they were guilty of discrimination against the same-sex couple, a decision that a Belfast court upheld.

"The Court strongly agreed with Ashers' lawyers that this case has always been about the message on the cake and not the customer; the message, not the messenger". We will take time to review the judgement in detail.

He said the "issue of political and religious discrimination is direct" and the ramifications are "potentially enormous".

"I want to start by thanking God", he told reporters. "We don't have the same rights in Northern Ireland as gay people as we do in the rest of the United Kingdom", he said.

She added: "I do not seek to minimise or disparage the very real problem of discrimination against gay people", saying everyone was "born free and equal in dignity and rights".

"They would have refused to make such a cake for any customer, irrespective of their sexual orientation".

She went on: "As to Mr Lee's claim based on sexual discrimination, the bakers did not refuse to fulfil his order because of his sexual orientation. There is no evidence that his sexuality was the reason Ashers declined his order", he wrote.

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