THROWN OUT ‘Gay cake’ Belfast bakery complaint ruled inadmissible by European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights has deemed inadmissible a complaint by a homosexual rights activist from Northern Ireland that a Christian bakery refused to provide him a cake frosted with the words “Support Gay Marriage” (ECHR).
“Gay cake” case: ECHR says Gareth Lee failed to “exhaust domestic remedies”.
Following the ruling, Mr Lee was not prejudiced against when Ashers bakery in Belfast declined to produce the cake.
According to Mr Lee, the Supreme Court failed to give him the proper weight as required by the European Convention of Human Rights.
“Convention arguments must be made expressly or in substance before the domestic authorities,” the ECHR ruled today.
“In the domestic processes, the applicant never asserted his Convention rights.
Instead of allowing the domestic courts to consider any Convention issues identified, the applicant sought to usurp their function by relying entirely on local law.”
In May 2014, Mr Lee, a member of the LGBT advocacy group QueerSpace, bought a £36.50 Sesame Street puppet cake from Ashers for a private event celebrating the International Day Against Homophobia.
His purchase was accepted and he paid in full, but two days later the Christian owners called to say the message requested was not acceptable.
Mr Lee then sued, with the help of the Northern Ireland Equality Commission, alleging sexual discrimination, and won hearings in 2015 and 2016 at the county court and the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal.
But Daniel and Amy McArthur, proprietors of Ashers, fought those findings in court, and in 2018, five justices unanimously found they had not discriminated against the consumer.
“The application was inadmissible for failure to exhaust domestic remedies.”