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The gay-cake verdict: a sweet victory for free expression’

Northern Irish bakers Daniel & Amy McArthur will not be forced to ice messages that are incompatible with their religious beliefs

“Whichever way you slice it, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) delivered a win for free expression this week. Justice has been served to Daniel and Amy McArthur, the owners of Ashers Bakery in Northern Ireland, after a seven-year court ordeal. Europe’s top human-rights court declined to overrule the 2018 decision of the British Supreme Court – namely, that the pair should not be punished for refusing to ice a message in support of gay marriage on a cake for a customer.

The saga began in 2014 when Gareth Lee, a member of an LGBT group called QueerSpace, asked Ashers Bakery in Belfast to make him a custom cake with the slogan ‘Support Gay Marriage’ iced on top. The bakery’s owners are Christians and they politely declined the request. What ensued may have been the most expensive food fight of all time.

Lee brought proceedings against the McArthurs, accusing them of discrimination. He was backed by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI). The ECNI, which is funded by the taxpayer, racked up huge legal fees. Meanwhile, thousands of pounds in donations were raised by the Christian Institute, a charity that defended the McArthurs and paid their court costs. The price tag of the dispute eventually reached over half a million pounds,” writes Communications Officer, Lois McLatchie in Spiked.

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