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Ashers gay cake row: Courtroom clash of lawyers and media scrum outside, all because of bakery order

In Pictures: Ashers gay cake court battle in Belfast Close

Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his wife Amy in October. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his wife Amy in October. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Daniel McArthur of Ashers with his wife Amy and parents pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast after the judgement was given. 
Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Daniel McArthur of Ashers with his wife Amy and parents pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast after the judgement was given. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Daniel and Amy McArthur of Ashers Baking Company speak to the media at Belfast High Court, as judgment is due to be delivered on an appeal brought by the Christian bakers who were found to have discriminated against gay man Gareth Lee. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Daniel and Amy McArthur of Ashers Baking Company speak to the media at Belfast High Court, as judgment is due to be delivered on an appeal brought by the Christian bakers who were found to have discriminated against gay man Gareth Lee. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

PA

Gareth Lee(left) and Dr. Michael Wardlow, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Equality Commission pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast after the judgement was given. 
Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Gareth Lee(left) and Dr. Michael Wardlow, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Equality Commission pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast after the judgement was given. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Gareth Lee(left) and Dr. Michael Wardlow, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Equality Commission pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast after the judgement was given. 
Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Gareth Lee(left) and Dr. Michael Wardlow, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Equality Commission pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast after the judgement was given. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Daniel McArthur of Ashers and his wife Amy pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast after the judgement was given. 
Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Daniel McArthur of Ashers and his wife Amy pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast after the judgement was given. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Gareth Lee pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast after the judgement was given. 
Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Gareth Lee pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast after the judgement was given. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Daniel McArthur of Ashers pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast after the judgement was given. 
Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Daniel McArthur of Ashers pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast after the judgement was given. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Judgement due on 'gay cake' appeal for Ashers Bakery.  Two years ago, the family-run firm refused to make a cake for gay rights activist Gareth Lee with the slogan "Support Gay Marriage" leading to a judge ruling the Christian owners of Ashers had discriminated against him.
Daniel McArthur of Ashers and his wife Amy arrive at the High Court in Belfast to hear the appeal. 
Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Judgement due on 'gay cake' appeal for Ashers Bakery. Two years ago, the family-run firm refused to make a cake for gay rights activist Gareth Lee with the slogan "Support Gay Marriage" leading to a judge ruling the Christian owners of Ashers had discriminated against him. Daniel McArthur of Ashers and his wife Amy arrive at the High Court in Belfast to hear the appeal. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Judgement due on 'gay cake' appeal for Ashers Bakery.  Two years ago, the family-run firm refused to make a cake for gay rights activist Gareth Lee with the slogan "Support Gay Marriage" leading to a judge ruling the Christian owners of Ashers had discriminated against him.
Gareth Lee(left) and Dr. Michael Wardlow, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Equality Commission arrives at the High Court in Belfast to hear the appeal. 
Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Judgement due on 'gay cake' appeal for Ashers Bakery. Two years ago, the family-run firm refused to make a cake for gay rights activist Gareth Lee with the slogan "Support Gay Marriage" leading to a judge ruling the Christian owners of Ashers had discriminated against him. Gareth Lee(left) and Dr. Michael Wardlow, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Equality Commission arrives at the High Court in Belfast to hear the appeal. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Daniel McArthur (L), managing director of Ashers Bakery and his wife Amy McArthur (R) hold a press conference as they outside Belfast high court alongside family members for the so called 'Gay Cake' case verdict on October 24, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Daniel McArthur (L), managing director of Ashers Bakery and his wife Amy McArthur (R) hold a press conference as they outside Belfast high court alongside family members for the so called 'Gay Cake' case verdict on October 24, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

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Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy arrive at court for the verdict.

Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy arrive at court for the verdict.

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Gay rights activist Gareth Lee outside Laganside Court , A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Gay rights activist Gareth Lee outside Laganside Court , A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Gay rights activist Gareth Lee outside Laganside Court , A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Gay rights activist Gareth Lee outside Laganside Court , A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Gay rights activist Gareth Lee outside Laganside Court , A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Gay rights activist Gareth Lee outside Laganside Court , A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Gay rights activist Gareth Lee gets a hug from a friend outside Laganside Court , A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Gay rights activist Gareth Lee gets a hug from a friend outside Laganside Court , A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Gay rights activist Gareth Lee gets a hug from a friend outside Laganside Court , A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Gay rights activist Gareth Lee gets a hug from a friend outside Laganside Court , A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 
Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the  Christian bakery guilty of discrimination ,  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 19/5/2015 Daniel McArthur (director of Ashers Bakery) and with wife Amy at Laganside court in Belfast on tuesday, A judge has found the Christian bakery guilty of discrimination , Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The order placed at the firm's shop at Royal Avenue in Belfast was for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia last May. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Dr Michael Wardlow(left() from the Equality Commission and Gareth Lee(centre) pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Dr Michael Wardlow(left() from the Equality Commission and Gareth Lee(centre) pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  The DUP's Paul Givan(second from right) and Edwin Poots(second from left) pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. The DUP's Paul Givan(second from right) and Edwin Poots(second from left) pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy arrive at court for the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy arrive at court for the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy arrive at court for the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy arrive at court for the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy arrive at court for the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy arrive at court for the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy arrive at court for the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy arrive at court for the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Gareth Lee(centre) pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Gareth Lee(centre) pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Gareth Lee(right) pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Gareth Lee(right) pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Gareth Lee(centre) pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Gareth Lee(centre) pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Gareth Lee receives a hug outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Gareth Lee receives a hug outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case.  A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination.  Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage.  The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake.  Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Ashers found guilty of discrimination in cake case. A judge has found a Christian bakery which refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan guilty of discrimination. Ashers Baking Company, which is run by the McArthur family, declined the request for a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto Support Gay Marriage. The Equality Commission took the case against the Newtownabbey based company on behalf of Gareth Lee who had trued to order the cake. Bakery owners Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy pictured outside the court after the verdict.

Pacemaker Press 26/3/2015
Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his family  on thursday, Ashers  face a discrimination case supported by the Equality Commission, after a  dispute began when the Christian-run bakery refused a request to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 26/3/2015 Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his family on thursday, Ashers face a discrimination case supported by the Equality Commission, after a dispute began when the Christian-run bakery refused a request to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Daniel and Amy McArthur arrive at Laganside Court yesterday morning

Daniel and Amy McArthur arrive at Laganside Court yesterday morning

Ashers' Daniel McArthur with his wife Amy and his parents Colin and Karen behind leave Laganside Court after the case finished

Ashers' Daniel McArthur with his wife Amy and his parents Colin and Karen behind leave Laganside Court after the case finished

Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his family. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his family. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Daniel McArthur, general manager of Asher's Bakery gives a statement to the media before entering court

Daniel McArthur, general manager of Asher's Bakery gives a statement to the media before entering court

Getty Images

While not identical to the Ashers’ gay cake controversy, this story touches on some of the same themes and dilemmas

While not identical to the Ashers’ gay cake controversy, this story touches on some of the same themes and dilemmas

Getty Images

Ashers bakery boss Daniel McArthur at Belfast Court. Pic Mark Simpson BBC

Ashers bakery boss Daniel McArthur at Belfast Court. Pic Mark Simpson BBC

Ashers bakery boss Daniel McArthur at Belfast Court. Pic Mark Simpson BBC

More than 2,000 people pack the Waterfront Hall to show support for Ashers bakery

More than 2,000 people pack the Waterfront Hall to show support for Ashers bakery

Gareth Lee, whose lawyer put his side of the case to the court yesterday

Gareth Lee, whose lawyer put his side of the case to the court yesterday

Daniel and Amy McArthur arriving at Belfast County Court to fight a challenge by Northern Ireland's Equality Commission following their refusal to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan. David Young/PA Wire

Daniel and Amy McArthur arriving at Belfast County Court to fight a challenge by Northern Ireland's Equality Commission following their refusal to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan. David Young/PA Wire

PA

The cake at the centre of the Ashers row

The cake at the centre of the Ashers row

Pacemaker Press 26/3/2015
Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his wife Amy  on thursday, Ashers  face a discrimination case supported by the Equality Commission, after a  dispute began when the Christian-run bakery refused a request to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 26/3/2015 Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his wife Amy on thursday, Ashers face a discrimination case supported by the Equality Commission, after a dispute began when the Christian-run bakery refused a request to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 26/3/2015
Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his family  on thursday, Ashers  face a discrimination case supported by the Equality Commission, after a  dispute began when the Christian-run bakery refused a request to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 26/3/2015 Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his family on thursday, Ashers face a discrimination case supported by the Equality Commission, after a dispute began when the Christian-run bakery refused a request to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Christian Institute support rally for Ashers bakery held at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. Photograph: Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

Christian Institute support rally for Ashers bakery held at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. Photograph: Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

Christian Institute support rally for Ashers bakery held at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. Photograph: Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

Christian Institute support rally for Ashers bakery held at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. Photograph: Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

Pacemaker Press 26/3/2015
Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his family  on thursday, Ashers  face a discrimination case supported by the Equality Commission, after a  dispute began when the Christian-run bakery refused a request to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 26/3/2015 Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his family on thursday, Ashers face a discrimination case supported by the Equality Commission, after a dispute began when the Christian-run bakery refused a request to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Daniel and Amy McArthur with their baby daughter Elia

Daniel and Amy McArthur with their baby daughter Elia

Christian Institute support rally for Ashers bakery held at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. In attendance is the DUP's Sammy Wilson. Photograph:Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

Christian Institute support rally for Ashers bakery held at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. In attendance is the DUP's Sammy Wilson. Photograph:Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

The Ashers Baking Co outlet in Belfast’s Royal Avenue

The Ashers Baking Co outlet in Belfast’s Royal Avenue

Mayor Andrew Muir cutting a Sesame Street Bert and Ernie 'Support Gay Marriage' cake

Mayor Andrew Muir cutting a Sesame Street Bert and Ernie 'Support Gay Marriage' cake

Photopress Belfast

Daniel McArthur (General manager at Ashers Bakery) arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his wife Amy in October. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

In a courtroom usually reserved for some of Northern Ireland's most dangerous criminals, a young Christian family waited patiently to defend their religious beliefs.

The enormity of this case could not have been lost on husband and wife Daniel and Amy McArthur as they sat in a courtroom surrounded by lawyers, the media, politicians and many members of the public.

But they did not seem overwhelmed by the attention this case has attracted, as they confidently addressed the large media pack outside Belfast courthouse yesterday morning.

Despite this being a civil action, a courtroom usually used for criminal Crown Court cases has been set aside for the two-day hearing because of the massive public and Press interest.

The large dock, which usually holds crime suspects, separated the McArthur family and the gay rights activist Gareth Lee who lodged a complaint of discrimination against Ashers Bakery for refusing to bake him a cake on religious grounds.

Amy and Daniel McArthur were joined by Daniel's mother Karen McArthur, a director at Asher's Bakery.

She was the person who initially accepted and took payment for Mr Lee's cake order which carried a slogan promoting gay marriage and an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie.

However, following discussions with her son and daughter-in-law it was decided to refuse to bake the cake because of the family's "sincerely held religious beliefs".

Mr Lee sat on the opposite side of the courtroom with a friend.

Mr Lee and the McArthurs did not acknowledge each other throughout yesterday's hearing.

The case has been dubbed a David and Golliath challenge - a small, local business run by a Christian family being taken to task by the publicly funded Equality Commission.

However, legal counsel for Mr Lee, Robin Allen QC, said that Ashers was Goliath in this case.

"Ashers is a substantial business. It has six shops across Ulster, has a substantial online business called Buildacake; it has 75 or so employees and in its own words it supplies a vast number of convenience stores.

"Not only does it sell cakes in Ulster, it delivers across the UK and into the Republic of Ireland.

"Most recent accounts show that the company's net assets exceed £1m.

"This is a case about a single man who had a contract for a cake which was accepted by a substantial international £1m business," said Mr Allen.

"You might say that Mr Lee was David and Ashers was Goliath - but I promised not to use biblical quotations in this case; it's facts and law," he added.

The sober atmosphere of the court was afforded some light relief when Mr Lee was asked if he wished to swear on the Bible or take the civil oath as he approached the witness stand to give evidence. He opted for the civil oath.

Clasping and unclasping his hands, Mr Lee initially appeared nervous as he sat through the morning's proceedings. But when he took to the witness box his delivery was calm and confident.

It was the first time throughout the hearing that the McArthurs were seen to look directly at Mr Lee.

He told the court that when Karen McArthur contacted him to tell him they could not fulfil his order on religious grounds he felt "sorry" and "anxious" for her.

"Mrs McArthur was extremely apologetic," he said. "I told her I realised this was a difficult call for her. But the message was a difficult one for me to accept... It made me feel I'm not worthy, I'm a lesser person and to me that is wrong.

"In my eyes what I was asking wasn't offensive, it was just an everyday transaction," Mr Lee said.

This case, at its core, is about conflicting rights. The right to religious freedom versus the right to be treated equally.

The judge will decide which right carries most weight in law.

The dispute could have major implications for business owners across Northern Ireland and beyond who cite religious conscience to refuse services if they feel it is contrary to their beliefs.

If the judge should find in Mr Lee's favour it is unlikely that will be the end of the matter.

The case has already ignited a political row. The DUP has been attempting to introduce a conscience clause Bill which would give business owners the right to refuse service if it impinges on their sincerely held religious views.

Sinn Fein say they will block this bill.

A dispute which began in a small Co Antrim bakery will soon also be played out in the corridors of Stormont.

"If you find (in favour of) Mr Lee, that may give support to political campaign to amend the law. So be it," Mr Lee's QC told the court.

More court hearings also seem to be inevitable.

Regardless of the verdict delivered by Judge Isobel Brownlie, the controversy seems certain to be destined for further appeals to higher courts. It will also be viewed as a test case for similar rows across the UK.

Further Reading

 

 

Belfast Telegraph