The Asher’s Bakery Case: an Update
In our September 2015 newsletter we reported on (what we thought) would be the final chapter in the Asher’s Bakery saga. Our article outlined the reasons why the decision of Presiding District Judge Brownlie, of the County Court of North Ireland, held that Asher’s Bakery had unlawfully discriminated against the plaintiff, Gareth Lee, in refusing to bake a cake “with a coloured picture of ‘Bert and Ernie’, the logo of QueerSpace and the headline caption “Support Gay Marriage”’.
In October 2016 Asher’s Bakery appealed the decision to the Northern Ireland Supreme Court, but they lost.
However, despite their actions being found to be unlawfully discriminatory, Asher’s Bakery are continuing their practices. In May this year, the Belfast Telegraph reported that Asher’s Bakery refused an order for an engagement cake for a same-sex couple. The couple’s friend, who made the order, commented that “My gut instinct told me the cake was refused because it celebrated gay marriage.”
In May is was also reported that the United Kingdom Supreme Court had agreed to, according to the Christian Times, “hear the legal arguments of a possible appeal by the Belfast-based bakers at a two-day hearing scheduled for October this year.”
However, despite their very public losses in the courts, their business does not seem to have suffered detriment. In fact, the Belfast Telegraph recently reported that in 2016 Asher’s Bakery “recorded an increase in profit of £170,500”.
We continue to watch developments in this matter.