I have often criticised Britain’s senior judges in general, and the president of the Supreme Court Lady Hale in particular, for “liberal” partisanship and allowing ideology to influence their rulings.
Today, however, Lady Hale and her Supreme Court colleagues have bravely gone against fashionable ideology in a ruling which actually upholds liberalism, rationality and law. The judges have ruled unanimously that the Christian owners of Ashers bakery in Belfast did not act in a discriminatory manner when they refused to bake a cake iced with the message “Support Gay Marriage”.
The case against the bakers was brought by gay rights activist Gareth Lee, who in 2014 ordered the cake for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia. His order was accepted and he paid in full but, two days later, the company called to say it could not proceed due to the message requested for the cake.
Lee won his case in the Northern Ireland courts. Today the Supreme Court reversed those rulings. Said Lady Hale:
“As to Mr Lee’s claim based on sexual orientation discrimination, the bakers did not refuse to fulfil his order because of his sexual orientation. They would have refused to make such a cake for any customer, irrespective of their sexual orientation. Their objection was to the message on the cake, not to the personal characteristics of Mr Lee or of anyone else with whom he was associated.”