Supreme Court to rule on Ashers Case on Wednesday 10th October 2018.
On Wednesday morning (10th October), more then four years after the infamous ‘gay cake’ was ordered, the Supreme Court will rule in the Ashers Case. This is an extremely important case deciding whether anyone can be forced to produce a message they disagree with - the issue of compelled speech.
The McArthur family, who own Ashers bakery, run a successful family business. Gareth Lee, a gay rights activist, asked Ashers bakery to make a cake with the slogan ‘Support Gay Marriage’ on it. Ashers were happy to sell Mr Lee a cake, but not to promote a view contrary to their firmly held religious beliefs. When they ultimately declined his order, Mr Lee went to the Equality Commission who supported his claim alleging discrimination. Ashers are being supported in their case by the Christian Institute.
Peter Lynas, a former barrister and NI director of Evangelical Alliance commented,
“Ashers discriminated against an idea, not a person. While the law rightly prohibits the later, the former is not only allowed, but encouraged in a healthy democratic society. Many people don’t realise that Mr Lee had used the bakery before and the company remains happy to serve him. However, they will not, and should not, be forced to promote a view contrary to their firmly held religious beliefs.”
“The Attorney General has also intervened in the case arguing that Sexual Orientation Regulations directly discriminates against those who hold certain religious beliefs or political opinions and should therefore be struck down.”
“This case is not about special protection for Christians. The mark of a free and democratic society is that competing views are discussed and debated. Forcing someone to promote a view that they fundamentally disagree with is the antithesis of a free and fair society.”
“This is undoubtedly a difficult and challenging case, but if the Supreme Court rule against Ashers, compelled speech will become part of UK law. This will have huge negative ramifications across society.”