The European Supreme Court refused to make a ruling on a discrimination case. At the center of the case was an activist’s request to decorate the cake with “Sesame Street” figures Bert and Ernie and the words “support gay marriage”.
LONDON-On Thursday, the European Supreme Court refused to rule on a high-profile discrimination case. The center of the case was an activist’s request to decorate the cake with “Sesame Street” characters Bert and Ernie and “support for gay marriage.” The words.
The European Court of Human Rights stated that the case was inadmissible because the activist Gareth Lee failed to “exhaust domestic remedies” in a case against a bakery in Northern Ireland.
This is the latest verdict in a protracted legal action that began in 2014, when Asher Baking Co. refused to make the cake Lee wanted.
The owners argued that they would be happy to bake food for anyone, but would not add information inconsistent with their Christian faith on their products.
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom ruled in 2018 that the refusal of the bakery did not constitute discrimination, overturning the ruling of the lower court.
Subsequently, Li submitted his case to the Human Rights Court in Strasbourg, France, claiming that the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom violated the European Convention on Human Rights.
In the written ruling, the Court of Rights stated that it could not make a ruling because Lee did not propose a convention in the British court proceedings.
“Because he failed to exhaust domestic remedies, the application is inadmissible,” the Human Rights Court said.
The LGBTQ support organization Rainbow Project said the ruling was disappointing.
“When commercial enterprises provide services to the public, they cannot discriminate against their customers on any grounds protected by the equality law,” said John O’Dorty, a director of the group.
He said that the 2018 UK Supreme Court ruling created legal uncertainty across the country.
“Unfortunately, according to today’s decision, this uncertainty will still exist,” he said.
The Christian Association, which had supported the legal struggle of the MacArthur family, which ran Ashers Baking Co., welcomed the ruling. The spokesperson called it “good news for freedom of speech, good news for Christians, and good news for the MacArthur family.”
Spokesperson Simon Calvert said: “The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom discussed in detail the human rights arguments in this case and upheld the MacArthur’s right to freedom of speech and religion.”