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The UK Supreme Court will sit in Northern Ireland to consider a judgment against the Christian-owned bakery which breached equality laws by refusing to make a cake which supported same-sex marriage.It was announced today that the highest in the UK would sit in Belfast for the first time to consider the case of Ashers Bakery, which was found guilty in 2015 of unlawful discrimination based on sexual orientation.Mc Cann alleged: “My gut instinct told me the cake was refused because it celebrated gay marriage.” Ashers declined to comment.
“The main thinking is that we are the Supreme Court for the whole of the United Kingdom, that means England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and we hear cases which are important to everybody in the United Kingdom and so we want them to have the opportunity of seeing us in action in the flesh.
“Accessibility and transparency are very important parts of any courts work.” The bakery is supported by the Christian Institute, which is using it as a ‘test case’ to build support for undermining LGBT rights protections.
Grainne Mc Cann had ordered a cake through Ashers’ online bakery to celebrate the engagement of her friends Joe Palmer and Andy Wong.
The pair were celebrating their engagement ahead of their wedding this summer – but Ashers abruptly cancelled Mc Cann’s cake order.
The company in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland refused to bake a cake showing the message ‘Support Gay Marriage’ above an image of Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie.
The bakers claimed in a legal brief that God considers it a sin to make cakes with pro-gay messages on, but multiple courts have upheld the decision against them.
After the bakery’s loss at the Court of Appeal last year, the group directly called for equality laws to be re-written to permit religious discrimination.
The Institute’s Deputy Director for Public Affairs, Simon Calvert said: “Equality laws are there to protect people from discrimination, not to force people to associate themselves with a cause they oppose.
The case will be heard in Belfast in April 2018, with five Supreme Court justices travelling to Northern Ireland for the case.
Five of the court’s 12 judges will travel to Belfast to hear the appeal, which will also be live-streamed online.
It is therefore very important to be clear whether a marriage is legally recognised in England and Wales, and to understand the legal consequences of being married.