Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Northern Ireland Court Says Bakery Violated Anti-Discrimination Laws In Refusing Cake Promoting Gay Marriage

As reported by the New York Times,  yesterday in a widely followed case a court in Northern Ireland held that owners of a Belfast bakery chain illegally discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation when they refused on religious grounds to provide a customer with a cake featuring the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie and the inscription "Support gay marriage."  In Lee v. Ashers Baking Co. Ltd, (County Ct. N. Ireland, May 19, 2015), the court said:
Much as I acknowledge fully their religious belief is that gay marriage is sinful, they are in a business supplying services to all, however constituted.  The law requires them to do just that...
The court observed that a different result "would allow a religious belief to dictate what the law is."  The widely followed case grew out of a cake order placed by a gay man who planned to attend a private event marking the end of Northern Ireland anti-homophobia week.