Northern Ireland news

US Supreme Court backs baker's gay wedding cake snub

Daniel McArthur (left) and his wife Amy, alongside Sam Webster, The Christian Institute's solicitor advocate outside court in May

THE US Supreme Court has ruled in favour of a baker in Colorado who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.

A state court had found that baker Jack Phillips' decision to turn away Charlie Craig and David Mullins in 2012 was unlawful discrimination.

But the Supreme Court voted 7-2 that this decision violated Mr Phillips' rights.

A conservative Christian, Mr Phillips cited his religious beliefs in refusing service.

It is similar to the high-profile case in Northern Ireland involving the Ashers' Baking Company, which declined an order placed by Gareth Lee in May 2014.

Mr Lee, a gay rights activist, requested a cake depicting Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie and the motto for an event to mark International Day Against Homophobia.

Bakery bosses refunded his money for the order because the message went against their Christian faith.

Backed by the Equality Commission, Mr Lee sued.

In 2015 Belfast County Court held the bakery had unlawfully discriminated against him.

With the verdict upheld at the Court of Appeal in October 2016, the McArthurs took their fight to the Supreme Court.

In May, Attorney General John Larkin argued that a customer had no legal right to force the bakery's owners, McArthur family, into providing a message that clashed with their faith.

Judgment was reserved.

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