European Court of Human Rights Declines to Overturn UK Supreme Court’s Ruling Allowing Christian Bakery to Refuse to Make Pro-Same-Sex Marriage Cake

Gay rights activist Gareth Lee, center, leaves Laganside court in Northern Ireland on March 26, 2015. A top European court said Jan. 6, 2022 that it could not rule in a high-profile gay rights discrimination case centered on a request to decorate a cake with the words Support Gay Marriage. (Peter Morrison, AP)

A man lost his legal fight against a Northern Ireland bakery that refused to make a cake for him decorated with the words “Support Gay Marriage” and the “Sesame Street” characters Bert and Ernie.

The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday said it won’t rule on Gareth Lee’s request to overturn an earlier U.K. ruling supporting Ashers Baking Co. Instead, the court said his application “was inadmissible” because Lee had not raised the European Convention on Human Rights – including the right to respect for private life and freedoms of thought and expression – in his earlier court actions.

Lee said he was frustrated in the outcome based on what he called “a technicality” and said that freedom of expression “must equally apply to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people.”

This is just the latest turn in a 7-year legal tussle that began in 2014 when Lee ordered the cake for a same-sex marriage campaign event in Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriage became legal there in 2020.

At the time, Ashers Baking refused to make the cake because it was a “Christian business” and would not create products with messages at odds with its beliefs. Courts in Northern Ireland found that the bakery discriminated against Lee, who is gay.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: USA Today, Mike Snider