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Gay cake row: Bakery loses appeal, is found to have 'directly discriminated' against activist

The long-running dispute has made it to Belfast’s Court of Appeal.

Image: Niall Carson

ASHERS BAKERY HAS lost an appeal to a ruling which found they were guilty of discrimination for not making a wedding cake that supported gay marriage.

Last year, a Belfast District Court ruled that the bakery’s refusal to bake the cake amounted to “a clear case of discrimination.”

The owners of the bakery had appealed that decision but have now lost the appeal.

In its ruling today, the Court of Appeal found that:

Ashers Baking Company had directly discriminated against Gareth Lee on grounds of sexual orientation by refusing to make a cake supporting same-sex marriage.

The Ashers Bakery Company had initially taken the order from a customer for a cake with a picture of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street – with a slogan that read  ’Support Gay Marriage’.

The customer also asked for the logo of LGBT organisation Queer Space to be placed on the icing.

gay cak The proposed cake design.

Igniting what was to become a long-running public row – Ashers said that, after consulting about the order, they decided that they would not be able to complete it, and informed the customer before refunding him.

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 now the High Court.

Ashers’ owner Daniel McArthur has claimed that the refusal to bake the cake was made on religious grounds. Some Northern Ireland politicians have argued that the rulings impinge on the rights of business owners to exercise their religious beliefs.

More to follow.

Read: Couple at the centre of ‘gay cake’ row say they ‘don’t hate anyone’ >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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