Ireland: Another Supreme Court Case on Cake and Gay Rights

Bakeries are the new civil rights battlegrounds, and not just in the United States.

In a few months, Britain’s Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether a bakery in Belfast, Northern Ireland, could refuse to make a cake celebrating same-sex marriage. The case is a trans-Atlantic echo of the one heard two weeks ago by the United States Supreme Court.

Remarkably, both cases will resolve clashes between gay rights and claims of conscience in the context of confections.

The case from Belfast concerns Gareth Lee, a gay rights activist in Northern Ireland, where same-sex marriage is not legal. In 2014, he sought to buy a cake from Ashers Baking Company. He had seen a leaflet from the bakery advertising a contraption that scanned graphics provided by customers and put them on cakes.

Mr. Lee’s graphic showed Bert and Ernie, the Sesame Street characters; a logo for his group, QueerSpace; and the statement “Support Gay Marriage.” The bakery accepted his order and his money, and it gave him a receipt.

A weekend passed. Karen McArthur, one of the bakery’s directors, called Mr. Lee to turn down his order. Making the cake he had requested, she said, would violate her Christian faith.

“Using our skills and creativity to produce a cake supporting gay marriage — which we consider to be contrary to God’s word — was something that would be on my conscience,” Ms. McArthur said in a court filing. Read more via New York Times