Anti-gay bakery prepares to argue freedom of expression at appeal hearing
The bakery which was found guilty of discrimination by refusing to bake a pro-same-sex marriage cake, has announced the basis for its appeal.
Ashers, which is run by the McArthur family, who attributed the refusal of service to their Christian beliefs, will appeal the earlier decision claiming its right to freedom of expression.
The bakery was found guilty by the Belfast judge after being taken to court by gay rights activist Gareth Lee and the NI Equality Commission.
The cake requested by Gareth Lee from Ashers bakery
Shortly after the decision, the bakery’s manager Daniel McArthur said the family were considering an appeal.
Now the Christian Institute, an organisation which backed the bakery throughout the court case, said the family is confident it will be successful during their appeal.
The case will go to the Court of Appeals next month, and the McArthurs will be backed by human rights lawyer Professor Christopher McCrudden, who agrees with the bakery’s lawyers that the previous hearing was wrong to suggest that the business’s human rights were not engaged.
The case will be fought engaging Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights – the right to freedom of expression.
It is believed that the bakery will argue that it should not be compelled to express a view which is at odds with its managements’ beliefs.
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Article 9, the freedom of thought, conscience and religion, will also be used as part of the Ashers defence. This echoes the arguments put forward in the original hearing at which Ashers said baking the cake would be at odds with their religious beliefs.
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