The law is clear, and Ashers broke it: QC

Daniel McArthur arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his wife Amy.'Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Daniel McArthur arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast with his wife Amy.'Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

The law is utterly clear that businesses cannot turn down custom based on religious “scruples”, a leading QC told the first day of the landmark court action against Ashers bakery.

Robin Allen QC, who is representing Gareth Lee and the Equality Commission in Belfast County Court, told the judge that in law there is no way that the firm can defend its actions.

Mr Allen, who has appeared more than 30 times in the Supreme Court or the House of Lords, told District Judge Brownlie that if she found in favour of Mr Lee — whose order for a cake with the slogan ‘support gay marriage’ was cancelled by Ashers — it may lead to attempts to change the law.

However, he urged the judge not to allow that to enter into her thinking.

Yesterday Peter and Hazelmary Bull — the Christian B&B owners who two years ago lost their legal battle over refusing a gay couple a double bed — sat in the gallery of the Belfast court.

They were joined by senior politicians, including former health minister Edwin Poots.

Ashers’ defence will be set out in detail today.

Yesterday the firm’s young general manager, Daniel McArthur, spoke to reporters before entering the court.

Outside the court, supporters approached him and praised the firm’s stance.

A lot of people are watching the outcome of the Ashers bakery case very closely
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