A Christian bakery lost its appeal to overturn a ruling Monday that held them guilty of discrimination for not baking a “Support Gay Marriage” cake.
The Belfast court of appeals upheld the ruling from last year, reports The Guardian.
The three judges presiding over the case rebuffed the couple’s argument that baking the cake would mean that they supported gay marriage.
“The fact that a baker provides a cake for a particular team or portrays witches on a Halloween cake does not indicate any support for either,” Sir Declan Morgan,the lord chief justice said.
Two years ago, Gareth Lee, a gay rights activists, ordered a cake at the bakery. He wanted the cake to have Bert and Ernie, two Sesame Street characters, with the slogan “Support Gay Marriage” on it. The cake was intended for an International Day Against Homophobia event.
In the original case, the court ordered the owners, Daniel and Amy McArthur, to pay Lee $611 in compensation.
The judges also ruled Monday that the owners would have baked a cake that read “Support Heterosexual Marriage” or “Support Marriage.”
“We accept that it was the use of the word ‘gay’ in the context of the message which prevented the order from being fulfilled,” the judges said.
“The reason that the order was cancelled was that the appellants would not provide a cake with a message supporting a right to marry for those of a particular sexual orientation,” the judges continued in the ruling. “This was a case of association with the gay and bisexual community and the protected personal characteristic was the sexual orientation of that community.”
Supporters for Lee hugged him after the judges made their decision.
“The only thing that I would like to say is I’m relieved and very grateful to the court of appeal for the judgment,” he said.
McArthur expressed disappointment with the ruling, calling it a blow to religious freedom.
“This ruling undermines democratic freedom, religious freedom and freedom of speech.” he declared.
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