Last month the UK’s highest court found in favour of the Newtownabbey-based firm, ruling that it hadn’t discriminated against a gay customer for refusing to fulfil his order for a cake carrying the slogan ‘Support Gay Marriage’.
Gareth Lee’s complaint of discrimination, backed by the NI Equality Commission, sparked a costly four-and-a-half-year legal battle as Ashers’ owners, the McArthur family, battled to clear their name.
The McArthurs, who were supported by The Christian Institute, insisted that they had refused Mr Lee’s order only because the message requested went against their firmly-held Christian beliefs.
After losing two previous court challenges in Belfast, last month five Supreme Court judges in London ruled that Ashers had acted lawfully and hadn’t discriminated against Mr Lee on the grounds of his sexuality – a ruling widely hailed as a victory for freedom of conscience.
To mark the outcome of the legal battle, The Christian Institute is now planning a series of meetings to “acknowledge the goodness and faithfulness of God throughout the case” and “explain the implications of the ruling for Gospel freedom and freedom of speech.”
Events will take place at: The Templeton Hotel, Templepatrick, November 30, 12:30pm; The Lodge Hotel, Coleraine, November 30, 8pm; The Seagoe Hotel, Portadown, December 6, 8pm; Corick House Hotel, Clogher, December 7, 12:30pm and The Iron Hall Evangelical Church, Belfast, December 7, 8pm.
The events will be led by speakers from The Christian Institute, but it’s understood the McArthurs won’t be attending.
“We are delighted to be holding a series of local meetings to allow Christians who have been supporting the McArthur family and praying for them to come together to give thanks to God and hear more about the court ruling and what it means,” Simon Calvert, The Christian Institute’s deputy director for public affairs, told the News Letter.
“We were delighted of course with the Supreme Court ruling which strongly underscored our long and proud tradition of free speech for everyone and which vindicated the McArthur family’s quietly courageous stand.”
For more information about the events email [email protected]