Great Britain has its own Christian bakers who refused to bake a cake in support of the LGBT cause. And has happened in the American case, the Supreme Court of the land ruled in favor of the baker’s religious liberty. But the British case is somewhat different.
The Christian owners of Ashers Baking Company [see Genesis 49:20] in Belfast, Northern Ireland, refused to bake a cake featuring Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie for the International Day Against Homophobia. On the cake the bakers, Daniel and Amy McArthur, were told to inscribe the words “Support Gay Marriage.”
Because of their refusal, the bakers were charged with discrimination. Two lower courts ruled against them, but the UK Supreme Court ruled unanimously, 5-0, in their favor.
Why? Because the bakers were not discriminating against gay people. They would not have approved of that message (“Support Gay Marriage”) even if it had been requested by a heterosexual.
The bakers were being forced to say something contrary to their beliefs, which is a violation of their religious liberty.
“The key outcome of today’s ruling is that no one can be compelled to say anything that they profoundly disagree with,” according to the UK Evangelical Alliance.
The ruling defended the bakers’ protections under the European Convention on Human Rights, saying “…obliging a person to manifest a belief which he does not hold has been held to be a limitation on his article 9(1) rights [freedom of religion or belief]” and “the freedom not to be obliged to hold or manifest beliefs that one does not hold is also protected by article 10 of the Convention [freedom of expression].”
“The court found that there was no discrimination on the grounds of religious belief or political opinion, and ultimately concluded that compelled speech would not have been justified in this case,” said Peter Lynas, director of the Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland, noting that all charges of discrimination lodged against Ashers owners Daniel and Amy McArthur had been dismissed.
For an excellent discussion of this case and how it suggests a way forward in the conflict between religious liberty and non-discrimination, see this post by Tyler O’Neil.