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Religious Tolerance logo

2014 to 2016 and counting.
Belfast, Northern Ireland:


A "Religious freedom to discriminate"
court case involving a cake celebrating
gay marriage. A federal bill legalizing
religiously-based discrimination.

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gay couple with child1

An anonymous gay couple with child.

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During 2014-MAY-09, Gareth Lee, a gay supporter of equal marriage, asked Ashers Bakery in Belfast, Northern Ireland to produce a custom cake.

the cake

It featured two characters from Sesame Street, and was to contain a statement "Support gay marriage." Northern Ireland is the last political jurisdication in the United Kingdom that does not yet allow same-sex couples to marry. Karen McArthur accepted the order on behalf of the bakery and Lee paid for the cake in advance. Two days later, she contacted Lee by phone and cancelled the order, because the management at the bakery believed that to make a cake with that message would be seen by others as an approval of same-sex marriage by the bakery. Since they were evangelical Christians who strongly believe that the Bible condemns same-gender sexual behavior and same-sex marriages, they could not fill the order.

Lee complained to the Northern Ireland's Equality Commission who tried to mediate the conflict between Lee and the bakery. They were unsuccessful.

The Commission filed a lawsuit with the Belfast County Court where District Judge Isobel Brownlie ruled that the bakery had violated human rights legislation when they refused the cake order.

The ruling was appealed to the Court of Appeals which upheld the lower court's ruling.

The decision of the Court of Appeals is expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court in London, UK.

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Two topics are discussed in this section:

  • 1. A "Religious freedom to discriminate" court case involved a custom cake that promoted gay marriage:

    • Part 1: The cake's message supports gay marriage; the bakery did not.

    • Part 2: Local conservative Christians support the discrimination against a customer by the bakery.

    • Part 3: A disagreement over whether this is a case based on freedom of conscience or sexual orientation. Bakery loses court case.

    • Part 4: Case is appealed to the Court of Appeals. Ashers Bakery loses again but will appeal further.

  • 2. A "Religious freedom to discriminate" bill was filed in the Northern Ireland Assembly that would allow companies to discriminate against customers on the basis of the company owner's religious beliefs
    • Part 1: The Northern Ireland Freedom of Conscience Amendment Bill is filed in the Northern Ireland Assembly to legalize religiously-based discrimination by anyone against anyone. Some responses.

    • Part 2: More responses to the bill.

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Reference used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

Image at the top of the page is © Wavebreakmedia Ltd | - Smiling gay couple with child

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How you may have arrived here:

Home > Religious Freedom > Freedom to Discriminate > here

Home > Important essays > Religious Freedom > Freedom to Discriminate > here

Home > Religious information > Religious Freedom > Freedom to Discriminate > here

Home > Human rights > Religious Freedom > Freedom to Discriminate > here

Home > "Hot" religious topics > Homosexuality & Bisexuality >Freedom to Disc.> here

Home > "Hot" religious topics > Homosexuality & Bisexuality > Media accounts > here

 Home > Transgender topics > here

 Home > "Hot" topics > Transgender topics > here

  Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > Basic data > Bisexuality> here

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Copyright © 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2016-OCT-27
Latest update : 2016-NOV-01
Author: B.A. Robinson

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