In a long running and widely publicised case, the Supreme Court has held that a bakery, run by Christians, did not discriminate against a gay man when it refused to provide him with a cake bearing a message of support for same-sex marriage. The objection was to the message on the cake, not to any personal characteristics of the messenger or of anyone with whom he was associated.
It held that the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal was wrong to conclude that there was direct discrimination. The original Judge had found that the bakery treated the Claimant less favourably on grounds of sexual orientation. Although Judge Brownlie accepted that the bakery would have supplied the with a cake without the message ‘support gay marriage’, and would also have refused an order for a cake with the same message from a heterosexual customer, she concluded that the ground for the treatment was the Claimant’s support for same-sex marriage, which is indissociable from sexual orientation.
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