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Ashers: Gay cake row Belfast bakers case heads for Supreme Court

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

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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

The UK's top court could be set to rule on the controversial same-sex cake row that has already racked up over £200,000 in legal fees, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

In the latest twist in the case in which baking firm Ashers was found to have breached equality laws by refusing to make a pro-gay marriage cake, Northern Ireland's Attorney General John Larkin QC has stepped in.

Mr Larkin, who has a unique statutory power of referral in devolution issues, has confirmed that he is seeking an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court over Ashers Baking Company, which has been fighting its case more than two years.

Last month, Court of Appeal judges in Belfast upheld an original judgment ruling that Ashers had discriminated against a gay activist for declining his order for a cake bearing the slogan "Support Gay Marriage".

A hearing has been scheduled for next Tuesday - the same day that the McArthur family, who own and run the bakery, are expected to learn that they themselves have no legal recourse to a potential challenge in the UK's highest court.

It will be the second time that Northern Ireland's top legal advisor has become involved in the case after an appeal that was scheduled for earlier this year was halted following a last-minute intervention by Mr Larkin.

If the case goes to the Supreme Court, the refusal to make a £36.50 cake, which sources said had already eclipsed £200,000 in legal fees, could increase by tens of thousands of pounds.

Last week, the McArthur family sent a message of thanks to thousands of their supporters in Northern Ireland, saying they "do not feel defeated or dismayed" after losing their appeal, adding that they were considering their legal options with their advisors following last month's landmark verdict by senior judges

In response to an enquiry by the Belfast Telegraph, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General's office confirmed that Mr Larkin was taking the case further.

The spokeswoman added: "I can confirm that an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court has been listed for hearing on November 22."

Mr Larkin's arguments in relation to the validity of the laws that were used in the Ashers case will be heard by the same Supreme Court judges who will hear an appeal over a legal challenge to Brexit next month.

That relates to whether the High Court was right to rule that the Government must get parliamentary approval before triggering Article 50.

Simon Calvert, from The Christian Institute, which has backed the McArthur family throughout the case, said they were being kept up to date on every development in the case and "await the outcome of the Attorney General's request for a hearing at the UK Supreme Court with great interest".

"Lawyers for the McArthurs have explained to the family their understanding that there is no further right of appeal to the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal has been formally asked to clarify whether this is the case and that request will be considered at a hearing on November 22," Mr Calvert added.

"Separately, the Attorney General is seeking to refer the case to the Supreme Court for it to rule on his arguments about whether the laws that were used against the McArthurs are constitutionally valid. We understand that the court will also deal with the Attorney General's request at the hearing on November 22.

"A reference to the Supreme Court on constitutional matters would not itself be an appeal of all the issues previously heard in the Court of Appeal.

"Given all these details it is obvious that this is a highly complex legal case.

"However, the Attorney General's involvement in this case shows the scale and scope of the issues at stake.

"He has unique constitutional powers to raise the key issues with the Supreme Court, and the very fact that those issues are now being raised shows how important this case is and how far-reaching the consequences of it may be."

It is understood that the issue of costs relating to the entire cake case thus far, both in the original case and the Court of Appeal, could be decided at the same hearing next Tuesday.

Northern Ireland-based Ashers, a name with Biblical connotations, has six branches, employs more than 80 people and delivers across the UK and Ireland.

If the Supreme Court option is unsuccessful, the family could, however, still mount and pursue a challenge through the European courts.

The Supreme Court judges include Northern Ireland's former Lord Chief Justice, Lord Brian Kerr, who became the last Law Lord to be appointed before the creation of The Supreme Court in 2009.

He served as Junior Crown Counsel from 1978 to 1983 and Senior Crown Counsel from 1988 to 1993, before then being appointed a Judge of the High Court and knighted.

He became Lord Chief Justice and joined the Privy Council in 2004.

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