You can’t have your cake and eat it- critique of ruling in Gareth Lee v Ashers

Today’s ruling in the Gareth Lee V Ashers bakery case sets a dangerous precedent and it feeds those activists pursuing an aggressive gay agenda with more ammunition with which to persecute their war on freedom of conscience and also upon religious and moral principles and beliefs. The gay rights activists do not seek equality; they seek to pervert the true meaning of equality to use it as a weapon to enable their ‘rights’ to trump the rights of those who object to their practices or sexual preferences on religious or moral grounds. 

The ruling, in my mind, is a flawed one which is open to appeal on many levels. The Judge has allowed the rights of the “gay activists”, who purposefully and maliciously targeted a Christian run bakery, to trump the rights of those who hold deep religious and moral convictions. In delivering her judgement the judge made reference to a disputed ‘fact’- that she believed the bakery knew or had reason to suspect that the plaintiff was gay, this is a flawed and illogical assumption because the greater number of those who describe themselves as “LGBT activists” are not actually themselves gay. Therefore the judge has based a key issue, which she drew heavily upon as part of a balancing exercise between competing rights-which the judge herself acknowledged existed- upon a flawed and misinformed assumption that because a person is a gay rights supporter or activist that it would be ‘reasonable’ to believe that the person was gay. 

This reasoning stretches the boundaries of the law and goes far and beyond the protections that are offered, it effectively means that you can discriminate against not only a person but an idea or a belief- that is dangerous territory for any society to enter and it could quite realistically open the floodgates for not only an assault on Christianity but also upon a whole range of political, religious and moral beliefs and convictions. It creates a de facto right not to be offended by the back door. 

Ashers bakery did not refuse to bake a cake for the plaintiff because they suspected he was gay, they refused to bake the cake because they disagreed with the idea or belief the slogan on it espoused. As a matter of fact they disagreed, based on deep moral and religious convictions, with the gay rights propaganda message that the cake was to carry. 

It is also worth pointing out that gay marriage is unlawful in Northern Ireland, so it is also an issue that Ashers have been punished for refusing to produce propaganda supporting an illegal act. How bizarre that the Courts, at the behest of the publicly funded equality commission, would persecute a Christian family run business for refusing to provide propaganda promoting illegal activity. Some may say that is an unrealistic stretch of the law, well given the stretch in the law that Judge Brownlie made today I believe that the law is now open to be stretched in a whole manner of bizarre and illogical directions. 

Equality has no logical trajectory, boundaries or parameters. It provides for an anything goes society, as long as it makes anyone happy. It will corrode and destroy every moral fibre of society because society will be expected to accommodate every immoral act based upon the fatally flawed notion of equality. What if a man decides he wants to have three wives? Should marriage be re-defined again to allow for three consenting women to be married to one man? If we following the trajectory of equality then most certainly a man should be allowed three wives so the question I then pose is where does ‘equality’ stop? What does ‘equality’ actually mean? It appears to me that equality is a weapon to be used to coerce and force people to promote or accept practices, causes or beliefs that they oppose for religious, moral or general conscientious reasons. 

Let’s look at just one example of the logic of todays ‘equality’ ruling in relation to businesses. Sean Kelly, the IRA Shankill bomber, could walk into a bakery on the Shankill Road and ask for a cake to be made commemorating fellow Shankill bomber Thomas Begley. Providing the message on the cake did not breach the prevention of terrorism act by encouraging future acts of terrorism and only ‘glorified’ terrorism in a historical/past tense then the bakery would be duty bound to make this cake or face being brought before the courts for discrimination on political grounds. Freedom from discrimination on political grounds is offered the same protections within the law as discrimination on sexual orientation. Now in my mind, and in the mind of any right thinking person, the Shankill bomb was not a political act but it was an act of pure terrorism but Sean Kelly was afforded, by the perverse Belfast Agreement, political status by being released as a ‘political prisoner’ on the basis of an internationally backed political agreement, therefore following the precedent set today a Republican could ask for a cake glorifying the Shankill bomb or any other act of republican terrorism and hide under the cloak of freedom from discrimination on political grounds to force the business into complying or face a discrimination case. That is the reality of the bizarre and outrageous possibilities opened up by this outrageous ruling. 

There is also an illogical and bizarre argument put forward, quite often by those who support the devolved Stormont institutions, that gay marriage should be allowed because it is allowed in the rest of the UK and therefore it would be anti-unionist to oppose it here in Northern Ireland. This nonsensical argument once again tries to ride two horses- firstly those who are devout supporters of Northern Irelands ‘special circumstances’ and devolved powers, which allows the assembly to make their own mind up on gay marriage and other issues, want to override the ‘special circumstances’ and slavishly follow the ‘mother parliament’ to force through gay marriage legislation. Secondly most Unionists would trace our heritage back to the signing of the Ulster Covenant and the formation of the Ulster Volunteer Force, which later became the 36th Ulster Division fighting as part of the British Army, yet those who perpetuate the argument that we should follow the mother parliament wish to cling to the legacy of our forefathers that framed and signed the convenant whilst conveniently ignoring the fact that the Ulster Volunteer Force/36th Ulster Division was formed to resist the mother parliament, by all means necessary, in relation to the Home Rule bill. 

What is clear is that those celebrating today’s ruling cannot ignore the possibilities for an opening of the floodgates for all sorts of bizarre cases and indeed whilst it is the right of freedom of conscience that has been trumped on this occasion, there is a flip side to that coin which means that gay businesses could quite reasonably be forced to produce merchandise, cakes etc. which condemn gay marriage and which may carry slogans that while being totally lawful, a gay person may find deeply offensive, such is the can of worms that has been opened. You can’t have your cake and eat it!

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