Legal implications if the Equality Commission wins gay cake case

The Belfast Telegraph have another article on the long running gay cake saga. They have obtained the legal opinion procured by the Christian Institute (as indeed have the Daily Telegraph) from a leading human rights barrister: Martix Chambers’ Aidan O’Neill QC.

From the Daily Telegraph:

Mr O’Neill argued that the Commission’s case ignores human rights protections and said the bakery’s case was based on the same principles as Sir Thomas More’s refusal recognise Henry VIII to be the Supreme Head of the Church in England.
“Their refusal to endorse this opinion – to protect their negative freedom of expression – has resulted in the State, in the form of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, funding court action against them which seeks to stigmatise as unlawful and render unactionable the defendants’ religious beliefs and political opinions,” he wrote.

From the Belfast Telegraph:

“If the approach of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland were correctly based in law (which I do not consider it to be) then on the basis that the law does not protect the fundamental right — within the commercial context of supplying services — to hold opinions nor guarantee any negative freedom of expression, there would be no defence to similar actions being taken against individuals or companies supplying services in any of the following scenarios which have been presented to me:
• A Muslim printer refusing a contract requiring the printing of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed;
• An atheist web designer refusing to design a website presenting as scientific fact the claim that God made the world in six days;
• A Christian film company refusing to produce a “feminist/female-gaze” erotic film;
• A Christian baker refusing to take an order to make a cake celebrating Satanism;
• A T-shirt company owned by lesbians declining to print T-shirts with a message describing gay marriage as an “abomination”;
• A printing company run by Roman Catholics declining an order to produce adverts calling for abortion on demand to be legalised.

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