D-Day arrives for gay cake row bakers Ashers at Supreme Court
The Supreme Court's decision over whether Ashers bakery in Belfast had the right to refuse to provide a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan will be announced today.
The verdict by five Supreme Court justices comes more than four years after a legal challenge was taken by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland on behalf of Gareth Lee, a member of the LGBT advocacy group Queer Space who placed the order.
Ashers' Daniel McArthur, who is being supported in his legal battle by the Christian Institute, is expected to make a statement outside the court in London following today's judgment.
Mr McArthur challenged Belfast County Court's verdict in 2015 that Ashers had breached discrimination law.
The company was also ordered to pay £500 damages for injuring the customer's feelings.
Mounting a challenge at the Court of Appeal in Belfast in 2016, Ashers contended that it never had an issue with Mr Lee's sexuality, rather the message he was seeking to put on the cake.
However, this was rejected in October 2016, leading the bakery to the Supreme Court.
Simon Calvert of the Christian Institute said today's judgment could have consequences for other businesses if it does not go in their favour.
"Ashers is not a faceless multinational, but a family business where the owners are closely involved in the work," he said.
"They should not be forced to use their time, energy and skills to help campaign against their own deeply held beliefs - nor should anyone else."