Ashers lose appeal in ‘cake’ case

Ashers Baking Company screen captureThe summary judgement from the Court of Appeal today concluded with their answer to the two relevant questions posed by District Judge Brownlie in her earlier judgement against Ashers Baking Company:

For the reasons given we consider that it is only necessary to answer the following questions in the case stated:

· Was I correct as a matter of law to hold that the appellants had discriminated against the respondent directly on grounds of sexual orientation contrary to the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2006 – Yes;

· Was I correct as a matter of law to hold that it was not necessary to read down or display the provisions of the 2006 Regulations or the 1998 Order to take account of the appellants’ protected right to hold and manifest their genuinely held religious belief that marriage is, according to God’s law, between one man and one woman, pursuant to Article 9 ECHR? – It is not necessary to read down or display the provisions of the 2006 Regulations.

The bakery is not allowed to only provide a service to people who agree with their religious beliefs.

In the present case the appellants might elect not to provide a service that involves any religious or political message. What they may not do is provide a service that only reflects their own political or religious message in relation to sexual orientation.

In an opinion piece written for the BBC NI website, legal commentator Joshua Rozenberg said:

… there was nothing in the court’s decision requiring Ashers or any other business to promote a view with which the company’s directors disagreed. Ashers can keep within the law and not promote “other people’s views” by confining its custom-made service to birthday cakes — which is what it has said it will do.

A Jewish or Christian shopkeeper is not required to trade on the Sabbath just as a Muslim butcher is not required to sell pork. But if a business does supply a service, it must not discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation — which means it must not refuse to provide a gay person with goods that it would provide to others.

In this case, said the courts, the correct comparison was not with a straight man who wanted a “gay” cake, which Ashers would have refused. It was with a gay or straight person who ordered a cake celebrating traditional marriage — which the company would have supplied.

And, as the appeal judges said, “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.”

Alan Meban. Normally to be found blogging over at Alan in Belfast where you’ll find an irregular set of postings, weaving an intricate pattern around a diverse set of subjects. Comment on cinema, books, technology and the occasional rant about life. On Slugger, the posts will mainly be about political events and processes. Tweets as @alaninbelfast.

  • Thought Criminal

    “equality” doesn’t exist you muppet!

  • MainlandUlsterman

    As a product of the Jim Henson factory of dreams, I have no idea what you’re talking about. If I’m a muppet, you are presumably a minor character in Fraggle Rock?

  • Thought Criminal

    Read it again and repeat 500 times a day – it will cure you of any “liberal” disease. EQUALITY DOES NOT EXIST. NEVER HAS EXISTED. AND NEVER WILL EXIST.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Oh I see your misunderstanding now.

  • Teddybear

    Man wrote the rules that God dictated

  • Teddybear

    The only true God. The Holy Trinity

  • Teddybear

    V droll

  • Teddybear

    Tres hilaire

  • Teddybear

    There are republican bakers on the Falls Road.

  • Teddybear

    I don’t think so. It’s those who wear the jackboots of ‘equality’ and secularism are assisting the wind

  • Declan Doyle

    The Jackboots of christian fundamentalism does for more damege. Discriminating against non believers, teaching children they are sinners, hudging others and trying to force their views on people by attempting to have the law reflect their personal beliefs.

  • Theelk11

    Christ seems to get forgotten in a lot of the modern fundamentalist churches.

    What is important is social control of members, recruitment of people at vulnerable times in their life under the disguise of help and intervention, networks with like minded organisations to promote an agenda based on often bizarre biblical interpretations of how we all should live and of course money….lots of lovely money, you can’t be rich enough for this lot…
    These are the drivers, these churches are growing in number in our wee country, I have often wondered what is missing in people’s lives to need these type of organisations. Certainty and easy answers perhaps, I genuinely don’t know. The lack of scrutiny of this is interesting. Anecdotally I have heard some Interesting stories from people who have been involved in these organisations which describes behaviour very far from Christ.

  • John Collins

    Agreed to all you say, but further more RC was once a national hero, who had gone over to the enemy, so there seems to have been a particular push on the parts of the Brits to get a rope around Casement’s neck. In the same mean spirited way they had executed both Willie Pearse and John McBride, both of whom had only minor roles in 1916, they had an old score to fix with Casement.

  • NotNowJohnny

    God didn’t dictate them. Man made them up. And then claimed God dictated them. By the way in which language did God dictate them? And to whom? And did he speak with an accent? And which God did the dictating? Was it the God allah of whom it is said there is no God but him?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    As someone from a rather similar social mileau to Casement, I recognise just how much his “insider” status amongst the British elite contributed to that very particular hatred with which he was hounded to death. Many of the other Irish revolutionaries were from the developing Irish Catholic middle-class, but Casement was “one of us” to the British elite and his defection devastatingly brought an insider’s knowledge of just how mendacious British policy within the Conservative and Unionist party really was towards Home Rule. Casement was to my understanding still a constitutionalist until very late in his career, and was, as with so many others, driven to separatism and revolution by the utterly cynical manipulation by the Conservatives of the northern community into a quite fabricated position against Home Rule for short term electoral gain.

    Have you encountered “Dominic Medina” in John Buchan’s “The Three Hostages”? Although Medina is a rather composite figure with elements of Casement set alongside those of Pearse F.J.Bigger even Dev, but the charm and “insider” status of Medina is very much Casement, and the fictional portrait reveals important things about just how a Conservative and patriotically British imagination such as Buchan viewed Casement.

    I quote from the “Three Hostages” itself:

    “I suppose so. Yes, I should think so. But he moves in higher circles than I’m accustomed to, so I can’t judge. But I’ll tell you what he is beyond doubt–he’s rather a great man. Hang it, Dick, you must have heard of him. He’s one of the finest shots living, and he’s done some tall things in the exploration way, and he was the devil of a fellow as a partisan leader in South Russia.Also-–though it may not interest you–he’s an uncommon fine poet.”

    “I suppose he’s some sort of a Dago.”

    “Not a bit of it. Old Spanish family settled here for three centuries. One of them rode with Rupert. Hold on! I rather believe I’ve heard that his people live in Ireland, or did live,till life there became impossible.”

    “What age?”

    “Youngish. Not more than thirty-five. Oh, and the handsomest thing in mankind since the Greeks.”

    Of course Medina has been instilled with a poisonous hatred of England and the British Empire by his Irish mother. As the John Buchan Society website describes him:

    “Medina is a complex character, and perhaps Buchan’s most memorable villain…….’utterly and consumedly wicked’, with a burning passion to bend men’s minds to his own will.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    TB, a serious question. How do you actually know what God wills? Oh, I know, “the Bible”, but there are other contradictions even there in any text to much of what might be assembled as a tick list of simple “rules”.

    In the light of such contradiction how does one select amidst all of this what is actually divine revelation and what is simply fallible human interpretation conditioned by socially encoded attitudes? As someone whose ancestors worked on the translation of the King James version I am also very aware of the degree of “re-representation” present in any English version of the primary texts, and this brings me to the sense also that, even if one fully accepts divine revelation, what we are reading has come through the medium of fallible humans who may very well have interpreted and coloured such revelation through their own pre-conceptions.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    And Unitarians……..

  • John Collins

    Thanks for reply.
    I have nor read Buchan, but he is sounds most interesting and is on my list now.

  • Facebook User

    Stop calling the message on the cake a political one. Not all marriages are recognised by law. The Catholic Church does weddings after annulments and which do not fit the law of the land.

  • Facebook User

    ashers could have assumed the message on the cake was a windup. How did they know it was meant? They knew Lee was gay. They discriminated. What dreadful people the mc Arthurs are.