(TeaParty.org) – As he battle over whether or not Christians should be forced to provide their services to same-sex weddings has been raging in the US over the last few years, our neighbors across the pond have been grappling over the same issue.
The UK Supreme Court just ruled unanimously in favor of a Christian couple who refused to bake a pro-gay marriage cake, a stunning surprise victory for religious freedom in a nation that has become increasingly intolerant to Christians.
The Washington Examiner reports that the couple was asked, four years ago, to bake a cake that said “Support Gay Marriage” by an LGBT activist, which resulted in the subsequent legal battle.
This gives hope to champions of religious freedom across the Western world, in particular consiering that UK citizens are guaranteed far less religious liberty than we are here in the US.
Amy and Daniel McArthur, the owners of Northern Ireland’s Ashers Baking Company, are well deserving of our admiration for stadfastly maintaining that their refusal to bake the cake had nothing to do with the person who requested they make it, but simply the message it promoted.
The activist who had originally requested the make the cake is Gareth Lee, had the backing of Equality Commission of Northern Ireland when he originally filed a suit in 2014.
Courts in Belfast originally ruled in his favor in 2015, but the ruling was appealed and made its way up to the Supreme Court.
“I know a lot of people will be glad to hear this ruling today because this ruling protects freedom of speech and freedom of conscience for everyone,” said Daniel McCarthur, according to the BBC.
“We’re particularly pleased the Supreme Court emphatically accepted what we’ve said all along — we did not turn down this order because of the person who made it, but because of the message itself,” he said, according to a separate BBC piece.
“The judges have given a clear signal today. In fact, it couldn’t be any clearer,” he continued. “Family businesses like ours are free to focus on giving all their customers the best service they can — without being forced to promote other people’s campaigns.”
Lee claims, on the other hand, that his cake order was not meant to be any kind of ideological crusade, that he simply wanted a cake, and that when the McCarthur’s refused, he’d been treated like a “second-class citizen.”
“I’m concerned not just for the implications for myself and other gay people, but for every single one of us,” he explained.
Pundits and officials on both side of the debate issued comments on the ruling, while the Equality Commission of Northern Ireland said they would study the decision carefully to determine what future implications it may have for the LGBT community.
“There is a concern that this judgement may raise uncertainty about the application of equality law in the commercial sphere, both about what businesses can do and what customers may expect,” said their chief commissioner, Dr. Michael Wardlow, according to the BBC.
Admirably, there were even some who both supported Lee’s lawsuit and shared his ideology, yet agreed that the ruling, that a business owner must not be forced to use their talents to push a message they disagree with, is a fair and important ruling for all British citizens.
“Although I profoundly disagree with Ashers’ opposition to marriage equality, in a free society neither they nor anyone else should be forced to facilitate a political idea that they oppose,” said Human Rights Campaign manager Peter Tatchell, according to the BBC.
“If the original judgement against Ashers had been upheld, it would have meant that a Muslim printer could be obliged to publish cartoons of Mohammed and a Jewish printer could be forced to publish a book that propagates Holocaust denial,” he added.
This ruling is, simply put, a huge deal. Not just for British citizens, but for the entire spirit of Western liberty and democracy.