BREAKING NEWS. Ashers Bakery found to be liable for discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. They have been ordered to pay £500 in damages plus legal costs. Read: the judgement of the court. Appeal also fails.
A leading Human Rights QC has warned that there could be an avalanche of cases if Ashers Bakery lose their case. The case, between Ashers Baking Co and the Northern Ireland Equality Commission involves the bakers being taken to court for refusing to bake a cake with a slogan supporting gay-marriage. The Christian owned bakers, on religious grounds, refusing to decorate the pro-gay marriage cake.
Read the legal opinion of Aidan O’Neill QC which points out, by way of example, that in the following situations a service provider could be liable if they refuse to comply with a customers order request. So liable would be:
- A Muslim printer refusing a contract requiring the printing of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
- An atheist web designer refusing to design a website presenting as scientific fact the claim that God made the world in six days.
- A T-shirt company owned by lesbians declining to print T-shirts with a message describing gay marriage as an “abomination”.
See a video that explains the issues.
It is being argued that there needs to be a freedom of conscience defence – so that businesses like Ashers Bakery can decline orders which undermine their religious principles. If the court can find no such defence, they could (hopefully) impose a nominal compensation of !p with no costs, so as to discourage any subsequent politically motivated/vexatious claims. Over 200 attend the court to support Ashers Bakery.