Today the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal has given its judgment in the Gary Lee vs Ashers Bakery “gay cake” case. Gary Lee won. There are countless losers.
In case you’ve thought this was a lot of nonsense about a bit of sugar icing let me put you in the picture.
A gay man called Gary Lee asked the McArthur family, owners of the bakery, to make him a cake, which they were happy to do. However, they felt unable to decorate it with the slogan “Support Gay Marriage” because of their deeply held religious beliefs. (Please note, Asher’s is not the only bakery in Belfast.)
I would have thought that, given the ‘persecution’ Mr Lee has presumably suffered in the past as a gay man, he would have had a fellow feeling for another persecuted minority. Not so. Instead he went to the Equality Commission who supported his claim of discrimination. The County Court agreed and ruled against the McArthurs, who then appealed. I watched a video of one of the McArthur sons explaining why this was so important to the family. He spoke eloquently, politely and movingly.
I find today’s judgment alarming and deeply distressing. First, as a Christian, albeit a misfitting Anglican, I wonder how long it will be before I upset someone simply by voicing my belief in God. Do you think that idea is a little extreme? Look at the power the LGBT lobby is already wielding. They are only a small fraction of the population but they punch much above their weight. Then there are the transgender people who cause great trouble to those who refer to a bearded man as ‘he’ because they can’t see inside ‘her’ mind.
However, there is something here even more worrying about this judgment. Frightening, even. It should be the concern of all thinking human beings who rely, in the conduct of their daily lives, on simple Common Sense. I suspect this case was brought originally for political, selfish and spiteful reasons and supported by similarly minded people.
Goodbye compassion, tolerance and generosity of spirit. Goodbye Common Sense.