‘Gay Cake’: Ashers Bakery case is to be heard at the Supreme Court on Tuesday and Wednesday during its first-ever hearings in Northern Ireland.
This long-running case began in May 2014 when gay rights activist Mr Gareth Lee placed an order for a cake with the slogan ‘Support Gay Marriage’ iced on top. The order was refused by Ashers Bakery. Represented by Cloisters’ Robin Allen QC, Mr Lee sued the bakery for discrimination under the Equality Act. They were found to have discriminated on the grounds of sexual orientation and appeal court judges upheld the decision in 2016.
The Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, Declan Morgan, said in his judgment: “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.”
The case has attracted huge public interest and highlights the deep cultural divisions in Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK where gay marriage is not legal.
This is only the second time the Supreme Court has sat outside London. Lee v Ashers is the second case the five justices are hearing during their trip to Belfast.