A bakery run by a Christian family in Northern Ireland on Wednesday won a landmark case in Britain’s highest court over its refusal to make a cake decorated with the words “Support Gay Marriage”.
The Supreme Court upheld the owners’ appeal against a May decision that found them guilty of discriminating against gay rights activist Gareth Lee.
The bakery called the ruling a momentous day for religious freedom in Britain while Mr Lee condemned it as a profound blow for civil rights.
“I paid my money, my money was taken and then a few days later it was refused. That made me feel like a second-class citizen,” he told reporters after listening to the verdict. …
Wednesday’s ruling explained that the bakery’s “objection was to the message on the cake, not any personal characteristics of the messenger, or anyone with whom he was associated.” …
Ashers Baking Company — a business with 80 employees across Britain that takes its name from an Old Testament figure — took the order but declined to make the cake in 2014. …
The chief judge on Britain’s Supreme Court said the ruling should not be read as condoning discrimination.
“It is deeply humiliating, and an affront to human dignity, to deny someone a service because of that person’s race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief,” judge Brenda Hale said.
“But that is not what happened in this case.”
If the decision went the other way, it could lead to the humiliating situation for service providers of having to produce messages they profoundly disliked, as a way of showing them who is boss. It would open the floodgates to state-sanctioned intimidation and bullying. The imagination boggles, but it would be like the Mafia forcing you to tell them how much you love them. Or a Jewish bakery in 1939 Germany having to bake a case for the Nazis that read “death to Jews”.
hat-tip Stephen Neil