"Gay Cake" Row Taken To European Court

15 August 2019, 11:38 | Updated: 15 August 2019, 11:42

The bakery in Northern Ireland that refused to make a cake supporting gay marriage
The bakery in Northern Ireland that refused to make a cake supporting gay marriage. Picture: Getty

A case involving a Christian bakery, which refused to make a cake with a slogan supporting same-sex marriage, has been referred to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The high-profile dispute began in 2014 when a Northern Irish bakery refused to make a cake with the slogan "Support Gay Marriage".

Gareth Lee tried but failed to order the £36.50 cake at Ashers Bakery in Belfast in May 2014.

The Christian owners of the bakery declined the order as it was "at odds" with its beliefs.

Last year, the bakery won its appeal at the UK Supreme Court, which ruled its actions were not discriminatory.

Gay rights activist Gareth Lee arriving at Belfast High Court in 2016
Gay rights activist Gareth Lee arriving at Belfast High Court in 2016. Picture: PA

Mr Lee's latest legal bid will argue that the Supreme Court "failed to give appropriate weight" to him under the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).

His lawyers will argue that the Supreme Court ruling should be overturned because baking the cake did not imply “the bakery supporting (expressly or implicitly) the message of the cake”.

When the controversy first began, Northern Ireland was still the only part of the UK where same-sex marriage was not recognised in law.

This will remain the case until the end of October when, if devolved government is not returned to the region, Westminster will impose legislation that will make same-sex marriage legal from January 2020.

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