Discrimination law and conflicts between the LGBT community and the faith community
In the recent appeal case of Lee v Ashers Baking Company (2016), the judge upheld a county court decision that the appellants directly discriminated against the respondent on the grounds of sexual orientation.
In this case, which has been widely reported in the media, the bakery refused to bake a cake with an iced slogan on it reading “Support Gay Marriage”, as it did not accord with their Christian beliefs.
It was upheld that the reason they cancelled the order for the cake was because the slogan related to supporting gay marriage and this was, of course, linked to those of a particular sexual orientation. It was a case of associative discrimination which amounted to direct discrimination.
The court further held that the right to free speech was not infringed because they could not conclude that it would be inferred that by icing the cake with this slogan that it would be perceived as their own personal view.
This case is an example how the courts apply discrimination legislation, in cases where there may be conflicting rights.