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Ashers Bakery 'gay cake' case ruling put back for two weeks

By Rebecca Black

Published 06/05/2015

Ashers bakery refused to make a cake illustrated with Sesame Street characters supporting gay marriage
Ashers bakery refused to make a cake illustrated with Sesame Street characters supporting gay marriage

The judgment on a landmark legal battle between a bakery owned by a Christian family and a gay man will be heard later in May.

It had originally been scheduled to be heard tomorrow - the same day as the general election.

The case was adjourned on March 30 with district judge Isobel Brownlie reserving her judgment. She told Belfast County Court she would reserve her judgment so that "full consideration" could be given to the evidence, which was presented over three days.

Judge Brownlie said: "It is not a straightforward area of the law.

"Obviously this is a case in which I propose to reserve my judgment."

It is understood the verdict in the landmark case will now be heard on Tuesday, May 19.

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland brought the case against Ashers Bakery on behalf of a gay rights activist whose order was refused.

The family-run bakery, which delivers across the UK and Ireland, turned down the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.

It had been ordered for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.

Gareth Lee, a volunteer member of the LGBT advocacy group Queer Space, claimed he was left feeling like a lesser person when his order was turned down two days after it had been paid in full.

The Equality Commission, which has a statutory obligation to monitor compliance with equality laws in Northern Ireland, had initially asked for the bakery on Belfast's Royal Avenue to acknowledge it had breached legislation and offer "modest" damages to the customer.

When Ashers refused, the commission, a publicly funded watchdog, proceeded with the legal action.

The case has attracted attention around the world.

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