‘Gay cake’ case shows power of US Christian Right

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01/06/2022

Gay rights activist Gareth Lee has lost his seven-year battle with the Christian owners of a Northern Ireland bakery who refused to make him a cake decorated with the words ‘Support Gay Marriage’ in 2014. The European Courts of Human Rights ruled today that Lee’s case was inadmissible because he had failed to invoke the ECHR at any point in those domestic proceedings. But what’s not being talked about is the coordinated and wealthy US Christian legal armies that helped win the bakers’ case using ‘freedom of speech’ arguments. The high-profile UK case was originally heard at a county court in Belfast, where the owners of Ashers bakery were found guilty of discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and ordered to pay £500 in damages to Lee. After a failed appeal, the bakery went to the Supreme Court, which overturned the original decision. Lee than referred the case to the ECHR, claiming that the UK Supreme Court had failed to give appropriate weight to his case for discrimination. ADF International, the UK arm of the US group Alliance Defending Freedom – which is described as an anti-LGBT “hate group” by the influential civil rights organisation Southern Law Poverty Center – said in its 2019 annual report that it had prepared legal briefings in the case.

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