NewsOct 11, 2018 by Alyssa Duvall
On Wednesday, the United Kingdom's supreme court unanimously overturned a 2014 guilty verdict in which Daniel and Amy McArthur, the Christian owners of Ashers bakery, were charged with discriminating against a gay customer by refusing to make him a same-sex wedding cake.
The Belfast couple had previously lost their lower court case and a subsequent appeal after being accused of refusing to make gay rights activist Gareth Lee a cake expressly supporting same-sex marriage.
"The district judge found that the appellants did not refuse to fulfill Mr. Lee's order because of his actual or perceived sexual orientation. The objection was to the message on the cake, not any personal characteristics of the messenger, or anyone with whom he was associated," the court's judgment reads.
"The message was not indissociable from the sexual orientation of the customer, as support for gay marriage was not a proxy for any particular sexual orientation," it adds. "The benefit of the message accrues not only to gay or bisexual people, but to their families and friends and to the wider community who recognize the social benefits which such commitment can bring. Thus, there was no discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in this case."
The Christian Institute, the legal defense group representing the McArthurs, hailed their victory. Daniel McArthur, bursting with joy, gave thanks to God for the landmark ruling: "We're delighted and relieved at today's ruling. We always knew we hadn't done anything wrong in turning down this order. After more than four years, the Supreme Court has now recognized that and we're very grateful. Grateful to the judges and especially grateful to God."
"We're particularly pleased the Supreme Court emphatically accepted what we've said all along — we did not turn down this order because of the person who made it, but because of the message itself," he added.
The McArthur's religious liberty saga began back in May of 2014, when Ashers turned down Mr. Lee's order for a cake with a message reading "Support Gay Marriage" featuring iconic Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie. Ironically, Sesame Street itself has previously released public statements that the classic kids' show characters are not a gay couple, but close, lifelong friends.
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