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How events unfolded

Published 04/02/2016

• May 9, 2014 - Gareth Lee, a member of the Queerspace gay rights group, places an order at Ashers Baking Company for a cake to be decorated with the slogan Support Gay Marriage. The order is accepted and payment of £36.50 is made in full.

• May 11, 2014 - Mr Lee is told the order cannot be completed. Mr Lee is offered a full refund.

• June 26, 2014 - Equality Commission writes to Ashers requesting compensation be paid.

• July 7, 2014 - Christian Institute says it will back Ashers after company declines to settle the case.

• July 8, 2014 - Alliance Party councillor Andrew Muir expresses support for the Equality Commission.

• October 24, 2014 - Equality Commission puts the bakery "on notice" of impending court action.

• November 13, 2014 - DUP MPs launch a petition in support of Ashers Bakery.

• December 8, 2014 - DUP MLA Paul Givan launches a Private Members' Bill calling for the introduction of a "conscience clause" into equality legislation.

• March 13, 2015 - DUP MEP Diane Dodds raises the case in the European Parliament.

• March 24, 2015 - Christians attend a rally at Waterfront Hall to show support for the McArthur family.

• March 26, 2015 - Three-day civil suit is opened at Belfast County Court. Mr Lee says he was left feeling like a lesser person when his order was declined.

• March 27, 2015 - Ms McArthur, an Ashers director, said she had taken the order to avoid a confrontation but as a born-again Christian "knew in her heart" it could not be completed.

• March 30, 2015 - Judgment reserved in the case.

• May 19, 2015 - District Judge Isobel Brownlie rules in favour of the Equality Commission. The judge finds Ashers acted unlawfully and directly discriminated against Mr Lee on grounds of his sexual orientation and political beliefs. The company is ordered to pay agreed costs of £500.

• May 23, 2015 - The Republic approves same-sex marriage following a referendum.

• June 10, 2015 - Ashers announce they are to appeal against the judgment on six grounds.

• June 13, 2015 - Up to 2,000 people take part in a rally through Belfast city centre calling for the ban on gay marriage to be lifted.

• November 2, 2015 - For the first time the majority of MLAs at the Assembly vote in favour of changing the law on same-sex marriage. However, the proposal falls when the DUP deploys a "petition of concern" blocking mechanism.

• December 3, 2015 - Two same-sex couples launch a landmark legal action at Belfast's High Court to judicially review the Assembly's refusal to legislate on same-sex marriage.

• February 3, 2016 - Appeal in the case of Gareth Lee v Ashers Baking Company is adjourned until next month at Belfast's Royal Courts of Justice.

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