January 23
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Trajan Shipley
6th January 2022
Human Rights Justice & Litigation

ECtHR dismisses as inadmissible case on Christian-run bakery’s refusal to sell a cake supporting gay marriage

In ​​Lee v. the United Kingdom (no. 18860/19), the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has dismissed as inadmissible an application concerning the refusal of a Christian-run bakery to sell a cake with the words ‘Support Gay Marriage’ to an individual associated with a Northern Irish organisation for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The UK Supreme Court had held that there was no discrimination of grounds of sexual orientation in the present case since the objection relied on by the bakers in order to not perform the service was to the message to be placed on the cake, and not to the personal characteristics of the messenger.

Mr. Lee had relied on Article 8 (right to respect for private life), Article 9 (freedom of thought conscience and religion) and Article 10 (freedom of expression), both alone and in conjunction with Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights in order to contend that his rights were interfered with by a public authority, namely the UK Supreme Court, on account of its decision to dismiss his claim for breach of statutory duty to provide services, and that the interference was not proportionate.

The Court declared the action to be inadmissible insofar as the applicant did not invoke his rights under the Convention during the proceedings before national courts, but relied exclusively on domestic law. It held that the applicant was requesting the Court to substitute the domestic courts when it had not exhausted all domestic remedies. 

Read the Court’s press release here.


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