Case details

Lee (Respondent) v Ashers Baking Company Ltd and others (Appellants) (Northern Ireland)

Case ID: UKSC 2017/0020

Case summary



  1. Whether the Appellants directly discriminated against a customer, the Respondent, on the grounds of sexual orientation, contrary to the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (NI) 2006 ("the 2006 Regulations"), and religious and political belief, contrary to the Fair Employment and treatment (NI) Order 1998 (the "1998 Order"), by refusing to make a cake decorated with the words "Support Gay Marriage".
  2. Whether the relevant provisions of the 2006 Regulations and 1998 Order breached the Appellants’ rights under Article 9 and/or 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the "Convention), separately or together with Article 14 of the Convention.

The Respondent is a gay man associated with an organisation called QueerSpace, a volunteer organisation for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Northern Ireland. There had been political debate in Northern Ireland regarding the introduction of legislation enabling same-sex marriage. The Respondent placed an order for a cake with the First Respondent (a bakery) with the QueerSpace logo and a words "Support Gay Marriage" printed on it. The Third Appellant after discussion with her husband, the Second Appellant, telephoned the Respondent and told him the order could not be fulfilled as the bakery was a "Christian business" and she should not have accepted the order. He was given a refund and able to secure a similar cake from another outlet in time for the event it was intended for. He brought a discrimination claim against the Appellants which succeeded in both the County Court and Northern Ireland Court of Appeal.

Judgment appealed

[2016] NICA 39


  1. Ashers Baking Company Ltd
  2. Colin McArthur
  3. Karen McArthur

Gareth Lee



Lady Hale, Lord Mance, Lord Kerr, Lord Hodge, Lady Black

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