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UK High Court Rules That Declining to Bake ‘Gay Cake’ Isn’t Discrimination

The highest court in the United Kingdom has ruled that a Christian bakery’s refusal to make a cake supporting same-sex marriage does not constitute discrimination.

The U.K. Supreme Court unanimously ruled Wednesday that the Northern Ireland-based family bakery, Ashers Baking Co., did not discriminate against a gay customer in 2014 by refusing to make the cake.

The cake’s icing was to include the “Sesame Street” characters Bert and Ernie and the slogan “Support Gay Marriage,” according to a report by the BBC.

Daniel and Amy McArthur, the married owners of the Belfast bakery, argued in court that they could not produce products with messages that go against their Christian faith.

Gareth Lee, the customer, sued the bakery on the grounds that its owners discriminated against him based on his sexual orientation and political beliefs.

Lee is a gay rights activist and campaigner.

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, a public body established by law in Northern Ireland, supported Lee both legally and financially throughout the case. The commission offers “protection against discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, race, religion and political opinion, sex, and sexual orientation.”

Lee had ordered the cake for a civic event in another city to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, the BBC reported. Another bakery made the cake.

Brenda Hale, president of the court, said in her ruling that “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.”

“But that is not what happened in this case,” Hale said, speaking for the 12-member high court.

“They would have refused to make such a cake for any customer, irrespective of their sexual orientation,” she said of the McArthurs.

What has been dubbed the “gay cake” case made its way to the U.K. Supreme Court after lower courts found the bakers to have discriminated against Lee. This was the first case from Northern Ireland that the Supreme Court has heard, according to CBS News.

So far the case has cost the bakery around 200,000 pounds (about $264,000). The Christian Institute, a charity and lobbying group, is paying the bakery’s legal expenses.

“I know a lot of people will be glad to hear this ruling today, because this ruling protects freedom of speech and freedom of conscience for everyone,” Daniel McArthur told BBC News.

McArthur has said his bakery took issue with the requested slogan and not Lee’s sexual orientation or political beliefs.

“We didn’t say no because of the customer; we’d served him before, we’d serve him again,” McArthur told the BCC in June at the start of the Supreme Court case.

Read the full story from The Daily Signal

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