The Irish ‘gay cake’ saga is finally over, with the victory for the Christian owners of Ashers Baking in Northern Ireland being hailed by Christian leaders as a landmark moment which will give Christians courage in standing up for their faith.
Boggart Blog and other Greenteeth Digital Publishing are not particularly Christian, editor Ian is a paganistic humanist, John says he was baptised before he was old enough to give informed consent and Xavier is a lapsed Catholic. However as supporters of free speech and personal freedom we celebrate this ruling from the European Human Rights court just as decades ago we celebrated the decriminalisation of homosexuality, the legalisation of abortion and other changes that buried the more oppressive aspects of religious dogma.
In the current climate, with supporters of 'cancel culture' having been so active for the past few years, censorship of 'off - message' opinions and ideas both in mainstream and digital media, and social policies being framed to marginalise those who challenge official narratives, it has appeared that lawmaking bodies and courts have declared war on free speech and the civil liberties of those who do not support the 'progressive agendas of the far left are being continually eroded.
While freedom to voice opinions from a more conservative or libertarian point of view is theoretically an inalienable human right, hate crime laws with the concept of a hate crime being so loosely defined that almost anything can be presented as offensive to some, anti racism laws that are so biased towards minorities it is almost impossible for people of the majority group to make even the most mildly critical comment, and rules relating to sexual identities forcing us to accept the unscientific idiocies of the transgedger movement, the freedom to express any unorthodox point of view is disappearing.
But while free speech and freedom of thought remain under attack the outcome of the gay cake case which has run for years, is at last an important victory from a free speech perspective.
Most people probably believed the Irish Gay Cake saga was over after the Supreme Court in England ruled in favour of the bakery. But the latest
twist in this important story emerged yesterday when the European Court
of Human Rights (ECHR) dismissed an appeal by LGBT campaigner, Gareth
Lee, against the UK Supreme Court’s decision in 2018. This means the snivelling little queer who organised what was nothing but a hit job on a business run by Christians has nowhere left to go.
To refresh your memory, in 2014 the Ashers Baking Co. in Northern Ireland turned down Mr Lee’s order for a cake bearing the slogan ‘Support Gay Marriage’. The McArthur family, who own and run the bakery, did so because of their Christian conviction that marriage is between one man and one woman.
Mr Lee took them to court over this decision, claiming their refusal to accept his order was homophobic, his case was backed by the taxpayer-funded Northern Ireland Equality Commission. Due to sensationalist coverage in the media the initial impression given was that the bakery had refused the order because it was for a same sex wedding.
It later emerged that Mr. Lee wanted a cake for a political even in support of same sex marriage rather than for the wedding of a same sex couple. This being the case lawyers representing the bakery argued tha to find in the plaintiff's favour would create a precedent by which political activists could force their views on businesses.
The case went all the way to the UK Supreme Court and, in October 2018, the court found in the McArthur’s favour, recognising that the family’s objection was to the message, not the man or his sexual preferences.
This point was the crux of the whole case: Mr Lee had been served by Ashers prior to his request for a cake celebrating same-sex marriage. The reason this order was turned down was because of freedom of conscience and religion. The McArthurs, understandably, did not want to make a cake celebrating something they disagreed with. Their decision was not related to Mr Lee's sexuality, it was simply a disagreement about a point of doctrine.
Now that the European Court of Human Rights has thrown out Mr Lee’s appeal to the ruling, it appears the saga is finally over. The principle that citizens should not be compelled to endorse messages they don’t agree with has been bolstered, to the benefit not only of Christian believers but everyone in UK society.