UK Supreme Court upholds cake artist’s freedom of conscience


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Vice President of U.S. Legal Division Kristen Waggoner, who argued the Masterpiece Cakeshop case before the U.S. Supreme Court, regarding the United Kingdom Supreme Court’s unanimous judgment Wednesday in favor of Ashers Bakery, a Christian-owned business in Northern Ireland that politely declined to create a custom cake with the slogan “Support Gay Marriage”:

“The UK Supreme Court recognized that artists and other professionals don’t discriminate when they object ‘to the message, not the messenger.’ The court also affirmed the fundamental freedom of Ashers Bakery’s owners to decline to express through one of their cakes ‘a message with which they deeply disagreed.’ In the U.S., Alliance Defending Freedom represents many creative professionals—like Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Barronelle Stutzman of Arlene’s Flowers, Carl and Angel Larsen of Telescope Media Group, and Blaine Adamson of Hands On Originals, just to name a few—who all draw that simple line: They serve all people but do not express messages that conflict with their deeply held beliefs. We will continue to defend their freedom of speech and religion until it is affirmed in the United States as it has now been upheld abroad.”

The following quote may be attributed to ADF International Executive Director Paul Coleman:

“We are grateful for the UK Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in favor of Ashers Bakery, holding that the owners didn’t discriminate against a customer when they declined to create a cake bearing the particular message he wanted. It is unfortunate that the UK’s extensive ‘equality’ legislation has created this unneeded legal skirmish—lasting four years and costing more than £250,000 of public money. But the court’s finding today is crystal clear: There is an obvious difference between message and messenger. Refusing a service on the grounds of someone’s protected characteristics is entirely different from refusing to create a message with which the creator disagrees for reasons of conscience. The stakes here were far higher than a minor dispute about cake decoration, but today’s win benefits all private citizens and helps ensure that the government may not force them to create messages with which they fundamentally disagree. We congratulate the Christian Institute for its exemplary legal defense of Ashers Bakery in this pivotal case.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
 
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