The Northern Ireland bakery business at the center of the ‘gay cake’ line of discrimination will close its central Belfast branch because it is not ‘busy enough’.
Belfast branch general manager Daniel McArthur, who was a public face in the Ashers Baking Company legal battle to counter a discrimination complaint against an LGBT activist, explained the store was closing because it was not negotiating not as good as its eight other outlets. in East Antrim and the Belfast area.
“It just comes down to the numbers. We have decided not to renew the lease, ”he told the Belfast Telegraph October 19.
“Belfast city center is not busy enough, our other stores are much busier.”
He added: “It’s been planned for some time, and I’m happy to say there won’t be any job losses.”
The Ashers Baking Company joint is within 100 yards of a Primark store, which was destroyed by a fire in August.
A number of fundamentalist Christians have claimed the fire was divine retribution after an argument over Primark’s Pride selection.
Friday (October 19), Belfast City Council has announced a £ 1.69million cash injection into the city center, with businesses reporting a sharp drop in revenues after the Primark fire.
Alderman Jim Rodgers, chairman of City Council’s Policy and Strategic Resources Committee, said in a press release: “We know the businesses around the cordon [next to Primark] really suffer from a drop in attendance.
On October 10, the Supreme Court ruled that Ashers Baking Company was not guilty of discrimination by refusing to bake a pro-gay wedding cake, in a decision which was criticized by LGBT + activists.
The decision follows a four-year-old dispute that began when Gareth Lee, an LGBT + advocate with Queer Space, paid the bakery to bake a cake to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The bakery, owned by the McArthur family, reimbursed Lee after refusing to bake a cake displaying the message “Support gay marriage” above an image of Sesame StreetBert and Ernie citing religious values.
Lee sued the bakery in Belfast, alleging a violation of the Equality Act (2010), claiming the bakery’s refusal had made him “feel like an inferior person”. The bakery was convicted of discrimination based on sexual orientation and political or religious grounds in 2015.
Ashers Baking Company appealed the decision, which was dismissed a year later. But the bakery insisted on fighting the initial conviction, considering taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights, and finally announced in 2017 that it would appeal to the UK Supreme Court.
“The bakers’ objection was about the message and not the man,” Supreme Court President Lady Hale said. judgement.
The decision examined the allegation of discrimination on three grounds – sexual orientation, political beliefs and the impact of the European Convention on Human Rights – and concluded that the bakery had the right to refuse Lee.
“It is deeply humiliating and an affront to human dignity to deny someone service on the basis of their race, gender, disability, sexual orientation or any other protected personal characteristic. But that is not what happened in this case, ”said Lady Hale.
The protracted court case has become a symbolic battleground for LGBT + rights and marriage equality in Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK that has not legalized same-sex marriage. LGBT + couples can enter into a civil partnership instead.