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Bakers in 'gay cake' row to have appeal heard in Supreme Court today

It is the first time the UK Supreme Court has heard a case in Northern Ireland.

Daniel and Amy McArthur have appealed the case to the UK's highest court.
Daniel and Amy McArthur have appealed the case to the UK's highest court.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Images

A BELFAST BAKERY that was found to have discriminated over its refusal to make a wedding cake with a slogan supporting gay marriage will have its appeal heard by the highest court in the UK later today.

The row ignited after an order for the cake was placed at the Ashers’ city centre branch in May 2014 by gay rights activist Gareth Lee.

Bakery owners Daniel and Amy McArthur - both of whom are evangelical Christians - were caught up in the controversy after refusing to bake the cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan on it.

It was decided by the Northern Ireland Equality Commission that their decision breached laws against discrimination. This was backed up by the District Court and the High Court.

original (5) The proposed cake design

In 2015, a Belfast District Court ruled that the Ashers Bakery’s refusal to bake the cake amounted to “a clear case of discrimination”.

In late 2016, the bakery lost an appeal to that ruling, and last year launched an appeal in the UK Supreme Court.

In a statement from the Christian Institute, Daniel McArthur said the fact that the Supreme Court is hearing the arguments “shows they recognise the seriousness of the issues at stake”.

The UK Supreme Court will hear the case today and tomorrow – and it is the first time it has sat in Northern Ireland.

A decision from the court is expected later this year.

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Sean Murray

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