Since 2014, the McArthurs. a lovely Christian couple who run a bakery in Northern Ireland, have suffered a litigation nightmare, since they turned down a request from LGBT activist Gareth Lee to bake a cake bearing the words “Support Gay Marriage”.
At this time, same-sex marriage was not legal in Northern Ireland, and it has never been democratically legalized since (it was imposed by the authoritarian decree of the Westminster Parliament against the will of the Northern Ireland people.)
Defeated bully Gareth Lee.
Gareth Lee set out to entrap and humiliate the McArthurs, because as soon as they politely declined, on the grounds that, as Christians, they did not support this view, he sued them for discrimination. At first, he won and was awarded compensation. The judge at circuit level absurdly commented that to be discriminated against “because he was gay” was “humiliating, hurtful etc etc” whereas in fact, for the Ashers to be bullied in this way by an aggressive activist, and subjected to a lot of hate mail, was humiliating and hurtful.
After a four-year ordeal, the McArthurs got justice from the UK Supreme Court, which in 2018 correctly upheld their right not to be forced to say something they did not agree with. Compelled speech is a violation of the individual’s human rights. They had refused the contract, and would have refused it whoever brought the request, so this was not “discrimination”.
The design Gareth Lee demanded was particularly offensive, because it included the logo of a magazine “QUEER VOICE” and an image of two male characters from children’s TV presented as a homosexual couple. The innuendo of child grooming was really nasty. Yet Gareth Lee got funding from the tax-funded Equality and Human Rights Commission which was deeply unjust.
|Support gay marriage? The answer is No.|
Even then, Gareth Lee was determined to continue with his bullying spree. He got more public funding to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights. And there, we are happy to say, he lost again!!!
The European Court upheld the human right to refuse compelled speech, and to choose what messages we speak, write or display. Freedom of expression and religion are both human rights.
The bakery won and the bullies lost!
We send our love and admiration to the McArthurs for standing firm and hope that the future brings them and their business many more successes.