Date set for Ashers appeal

Ashers Baking Company owners Colin McArthur and his wife Karen with their son Daniel, the general manager of Ashers, and his wife Amy, together with their children Robyn and Elia. Pic courtesy of The Christian Institute.
Ashers Baking Company owners Colin McArthur and his wife Karen with their son Daniel, the general manager of Ashers, and his wife Amy, together with their children Robyn and Elia. Pic courtesy of The Christian Institute.

Ashers Baking Company’s appeal against a court ruling that it discriminated against a gay customer is to be heard by the Court of Appeal early in the new year.

The two-day hearing will commence on Wednesday, February 3.

The Newtownabbey-based company is seeking to overturn a verdict which was reached in May, which ruled that Ashers discriminated against a gay man for refusing his order for a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan on it.

The owners of the bakery, the McArthur family, have consistently denied discriminating against the customer on the grounds of his sexual orientation, claiming instead that they could not fulfil the order because of their firmly held religious beliefs.

The Christian-owned bakery were ordered to pay £500 in damages.

The McArthurs are being supported in their legal challenge by The Christian Institute’s Legal Defence Fund.

A spokesperson for the Christian Institute said: “The family have consistently stated that they had no knowledge of the customer’s sexual orientation and that it would have had no relevance to their decision.

“The appeal also questions whether the judge was right to refuse to grant the McArthur family’s belief protection under the European Convention on Human Rights.”