Perversion of justice: a Belfast bakery has been found guilty in an absurd ruling of discrimination for refusing to bake a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan.
This is the perfect case to illustrate why so-called “anti-discrimination” laws are a real danger for democracy and human rights. Congratulations to Austria, where the umpteenth attempt to introduce such rules has just been fended off…)
The following are excerpts from an article in The Guardian, but the comments (in pink) are ours:
A judge in Belfast high court on Tuesday ruled that (Ashers Baking Company) was guilty of discriminating against Gareth Lee on the grounds of sexual orientation.
District judge Isobel Brownlie acknowledged that the McArthur family, which owns Ashers, do “hold genuine deeply-held religious beliefs”.
However, she pointed out that government regulations were there “to protect people from having their sexual orientation used for having their business turned down”. [Wait… is it not rather the plaintiff who is using his sexual orientation for turning down other people’s businesses? But apparently those regulations empower him to do just that.]
The judge added: “I believe the defendants did have the knowledge that the plaintiff was gay.” [Not sure. On the contrary, it is very likely that the plaintiff knew that the owners of the company, as evangelical Christians, did not want to be seen to support the so-called “gay rights” agenda. And that’s precisely why he picked them out…]
Outlining her reasons why this was a case of discrimination, Brownlie said: “The defendants are not a religious organisation. They conduct a business for profit. As much as I acknowledge their religious beliefs, this is a business to provide service to all. The law says they must do that.”
Ashers was ordered to pay agreed damages of £500 plus court costs. The firm was accused of discriminating on the grounds of sexual orientation against Lee, a volunteer with gay rights campaign group QueerSpace. [So the plaintiff is not just gay, but he is a political campaigner – and his actions must be seen as part of that campaigning.]
Lee asked Ashers in Belfast’s Royal Avenue to bake the cake last year to mark the election of the first openly gay mayor in Northern Ireland, Andrew Muir.
Lee reported the bakery to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland after it reversed an earlier agreement to bake the cake with the pro-gay marriage message. [The message was in fact a political slogan: “SUPPORT GAY MARRIAGE”. In Northern Ireland, the law does not recognize gay “marriages”.]
During the three-day court hearing in March, Lee said the decision by Ashers decision to hand back the £36.50 he had originally paid for the cake “made me feel I’m not worthy, a lesser person and to me that was wrong”. [Typical strategy: posturing as “victim”, emotionalizing, camouflaging the real issue. But in fact, the request was turned down not because of Mr. Lee’s sexual orientation, which probably was not even known to the company owners, but because they did not approve of his political agenda. One would have expected that in a country where same-sex “marriages” do not exist it must be perfectly legitimate to oppose their introduction, but apparently this isn’t the case in Northern Ireland…]
However, Lee, through the Belfast-based gay rights lobby group, the Rainbow Project, said he would not be making any statement in relation to the judgment.
Ashers’ general manager, Daniel McArthur, said the family were extremely disappointed with the judgment. Denying they had discriminated against Lee, McArthur said: “We’ve said from the start that our issue was with the [political] message on the cake [perfectly legitimate!], not the customer and we didn’t know what the sexual orientation of Mr Lee was [the judge just says she “believes” that they were aware of Mr. Lee’s “sexual orientation”, but she fails to explain how she comes to that belief…], and it wasn’t relevant either. We’ve always been happy to serve any customers that come into our shops.
“The ruling suggests that all business owners will have to be willing to promote any cause or campaign no matter how much they disagree with it. [This is the nub of the matter: what is at issue here is not the plaintiff’s sexual orientation, but his slogan. The question is whether only slogans such as “SUPPORT GAY MARRIAGE” deserve such protection, or whether this applies in the same way to all other political slogans. What if evangelical Christians went to a gay baker and asked him to bake a cake with the slogan “MARRIAGE IS BETWEEN ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN” – would the judge then have decided in the same way? And what if the client asks for Communist, Neo-Nazi, or Sinn Fein slogans?] Or as the Equality Commission has suggested, they should perhaps just close down [See above. So apparently not all persons are protected against their businesses being shut down. It appears only Sodomites are worthy of such protection, while decent people aren’t], and that can’t be right.
“But we won’t be closing down, we certainly don’t think we’ve done anything wrong and we will be taking legal advice to consider our options for appeal.” [Brave guys. You may support them through a donation.]
Responding to the guilty verdict, Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness, tweeted: “Asher’s bakery judgment a good result for equality, Gay people have for far too long been discriminated against. We and the law on their side.” [What The Guardian omits to mention is that Mr. McGuiness, who seems to be occupying the moral high ground, is a former IRA terrorist and thought to have been personally involved in the Enniskillen bombing which left 11 dead – see here. His views on “equality” and “fundamental rights” surely are very relevant and should give guidance to us all…]