Wednesday, January 19

United Kingdom: ECHR rejects request for gay marriage support cake

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on January 24, 2018, in Strasbourg FREDERICK FLORIN

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) declared inadmissible on Thursday the application of an activist pro-same-sex marriage, to whom a bakery had refused to bake a cake in support of the union of people of same sex.

This saga began in 2014 when a bakery in Northern Ireland, run by Daniel and Amy McArthur, put forward his personal beliefs to cancel and reimburse Gareth Lee’s order of a cake decorated with a frangipane replica of Bart and Ernest (Bert and Ernie in English), the characters of the series “1, Sesame Street”, adorned with the slogan: “Support gay marriage”.

The bakery was initially found guilty of “discrimination” before this decision was overturned in October 2018 by the British Supreme Court, ruling that it was not because the customer was homosexual that he had not. been served but because of the cake message.

Gareth Lee had seized in April 2019 the ECHR, judicial body of the Council of Europe based in Strasbourg, evoking the freedom of thought, the freedom of expression and the prohibition of discrimination, defended by the European convention on the rights of the ‘Man signed by the 47 countries of the Council of Europe, including the United Kingdom.

But the seven judges of the Court considered that the activist had not beforehand evoked before the British justice these rights guaranteed by the convention.

“The applicant deprived the courts of his country of the possibility of examining questions raised from the angle of the Convention and he, instead, asked the Court to replace the domestic judge”, explained the ECHR .

As this instance could only be seized when all the internal legal means in the country had been exhausted, Gareth Lee’s request was deemed inadmissible for this reason.

Following the ruling, Lee said he was “very frustrated” that the case could not be heard by the court due to “technical considerations”.

“No one should have to find out the beliefs of a business owner before going into their business or paying for their services,” he insisted.

His lawyer Ciaran Moynagh said they would consider the possibility of initiating new proceedings before the British courts.

Daniel Holder, deputy director of the Northern Irish human rights group CAJ, said he regretted that the case had not been decided on the merits.

According to him, those who militate for the rights of homosexuals in Europe remain in this way “particularly vulnerable vis-a-vis a commercial company which would refuse to print posters, leaflets, to create a website, etc., by invoking an exemption to the laws against discrimination on the basis of + it’s not you, it’s your message “.

For its part, the pressure group Christian Institute, which supports the bakery, welcomed the decision of the ECHR, its spokesperson Simon Calvert seeing “good news for freedom of expression, good news for Christians, good news for the McArthurs “.

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