The U.K.’s Supreme Court is set to hear a case to determine if a baker in Northern Ireland can refuse to bake a cake promoting gay marriage.
The case involves gay rights activist, Gareth Lee, who went to Ashers Baking Company for its specialization in screening graphics onto its cakes, according to the New York Times. Lee went to the bakery with images of Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie with the LGBT group logo “QueerSpace” and “Support Gay Marriage,” as text to decorate the cake.
While the bakery initially accepted the order, its bakery director, Karen McArthur, later called Lee to inform him that the bakery would not be able to fulfill his order because it went against its Christian beliefs. “Using our skills and creativity to produce a cake supporting gay marriage — which we consider to be contrary to God’s word — was something that would be on my conscience,” McArthur said in a court filing.
“It is not at all nice to think that a business will discriminate in the way that they provide services to me because I am gay or because I have political views about the need for legislation to support gay marriage or because I did not share their religious views,” Lee said in court, the NYT reports.
The case heads to the Supreme Court after an appeals court in Belfast, Ireland ruled against the bakery, positing that the reasonable person standard ensures that no one would assume the cake constitutes the bakery’s speech or that indicates that the bakery endorses 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,” Justice Declan Morgan wrote in his ruling.
A similar case has been ongoing in the U.S. after a Christian baker said he couldn’t bake a cake for a gay wedding because it goes against his religious beliefs. Gay couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins, asked Masterpiece Cakeshop to bake a rainbow-themed cake for their same-sex wedding ceremony in July 2012. Cake shop owner, Jack Phillips, declined because he didn’t want to make a cake that communicated a message that violated his faith. (RELATED: Gay Wedding Cake Case Just Might Land In The Supreme Court).
“It is unlikely that the public would understand Masterpiece’s sale of wedding cakes to same-sex couples as endorsing a celebratory message about same-sex marriage,” appeals court Judge Daniel M. Taubman ruled in the case.
No date has been set by Britain’s Supreme Court but the hearing will likely fall in the first month of the New Year.
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