The "Gay Cake Row" Across the Pond

You’ve heard of Jack the Baker of Masterpiece Cakeshop, right? He’s the Christian man who won his case at the Supreme Court this year.

Now you should hear about Daniel and Amy McArthur of Ashers Bakery in Northern Ireland. Today they finally won their case at the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court.

Both cases were about whether nondiscrimination laws can be used to force bakers to create custom cakes celebrating gay marriage.

Four and a half years ago, Ashers was asked to make a custom cake with a picture of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street and the phrase “Support Gay Marriage” on it. The clerk accepted the order, but the Reformed Presbyterian Christian family who owns the business decided this message would conflict with their deeply held religious beliefs. So they refused the order.

The cake would have cost £36.50. Instead of looking for another bakery to make the cake, the customer, gay rights activist Gareth Lee, brought a lawsuit against Ashers for discrimination.

His case was initially successful. The lower courts ruled that refusing to make this custom cake was discrimination against Mr. Lee on the basis of his sexual orientation. It is against the law in the United Kingdom to discriminate on that basis.

The appeals have continued in Northern Ireland, and the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom finally reached a decision this morning. The Supreme Court unanimously agreed with what the McArthurs and Ashers have been saying all along: “We did not turn down this order because of the person who made it, but because of the message itself.”

Lady Hale of the Supreme Court gave the opinion of the court.

This unanimous decision in favor of the Christian bakery owners made it clear that “nondiscrimination” cannot be interpreted as a right to force Christians to celebrate something they disagree with.

“The bakers could not refuse to supply their goods to Mr. Lee because he was a gay man or supported gay marriage, but that is quite different from obliging them to supply a cake iced with a message with which they profoundly disagreed.”

After four and a half years, freedom of speech has prevailed in the United Kingdom. It cost the taxpayers over £200,000 in legal fees that the State provided to Mr. Lee through the “equality commission.”

Facing the prospect of hundreds of thousands of pounds in costs for the years-long legal battle would have silenced many Christians. But the McArthurs stood their ground and won their case.

Bakers in Colorado and in the United Kingdom have had to fight all the way to the Supreme Court because of nondiscrimination laws that were used as weapons against them. If we pass “nondiscrimination” laws that uphold “sexual orientation” as a protected class, then we can expect to see it happening to Virginian bakers as well. And that’s just the bakers.

The Family Foundation will continue to stand against these destructive policies in Virginia. Thank you to all of our supporters who make this stance possible.