Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein send solidarity to LGBT community after 'disappointing' Ashers ruling

Sinn Fein has expressed disappointment following the Supreme Court's ruling in the Ashers bakery 'gay cake' case.

The five Supreme Court Judges unanimously found that Ashers had not discriminated against Gareth Lee by refusing to bake a cake with a slogan promoting same-sex marriage.

Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle O'Neil said her party believed the earlier decision taken by the Belfast County Court and the Northern Ireland Court of Appeals had been the correct one.

"Further exploration is required. There can be no uncertainty on the application of equality law," Mrs O'Neill wrote on Twitter.

"Solidarity to our LGBT community today."

Former Lord Mayor of Belfast Nuala McAllister paid tribute to Mr Lee for taking the case.

"Thoughts with LGBT community in Northern Ireland today as there will no doubt be confusion around the outcome of Ashers Supreme Court judgement today," the Alliance Party councillor wrote

"In particular to Gareth, whom I know personally to be an amazing person, it was not easy for him but he carried himself with great dignity throughout."

Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong said that the judgement does not provide an excuse for discrimination.

"Alliance’s preference was this case had not ended up in court but rather the issues resolved through mediation,” the Strangford MLA said.

“It is important to stress this is a judgement in a complicated case and in a very limited and particular context. This does not open a carte blanche for businesses or any other provider of services to set aside their equality responsibilities or provide an excuse for discrimination. Nor does it create a de facto 'conscience clause', and Alliance remains opposed to any such exemption either through the backdoor or via legislation.”

People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll said that the ruling proved the courts could not be relied on to stand up for the LGBT community.

"The only way we can win is with people power sweeping the country and pushing back against those who want to outlaw, discriminate and disrespect the community," the west Belfast MLA wrote on Twitter.

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