On the basis of these comments I'd like to hire these judges to sit on our cases.
I think you may be misinterpreting the judgement a little. When the judges refer to being required to promote the message, they're not discussing any message implied from the fact that the cake would be used at a gay wedding - I'm not sure if the cake was actually even intended for a wedding in this case. They're referring to the literal message they were requested to write on the cake. They had been asked to bake a cake which said 'Support Gay Marriage' on top. This is a different thing to baking a cake which would be used at a gay wedding.
I suspect the UK Supreme Court would have ruled that refusing to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple was discriminatory. In a different case they ruled that it was discriminatory for a hotel to refuse to rent a room with a double bed to a gay couple. Given that the Colorado bakery won its case in the Supreme Court, you should probably be happier with the judges you have.
I think also that refusing to sell a cake to anybody because it would be used at a gay wedding would be discrimination?
This has never been tested at law, but I think you're right. The Equality Act is quite specific on the exceptions. It mentions "for the avoidance of doubt" that the act cannot be used to force a religious establishment to host a gay wedding; and section 23 goes into a detailed host of exceptions allowing churches and other organisations set up for religious purposes to refuse access or services to gay people and avoid any involvement in gay weddings, but crucially states
quote:This paragraph does not apply to an organisation whose sole or main purpose is commercial.
This has been argued to death for years already. If the baker feels he or she is being put in the position of giving endorsement to gay marriage, whatever circumstances bring that about, they will refuse to do it. If the court thinks that is discrimination against gay people rather than an objection to gay marriage I would consider the court to be wrong, but in any case they will punish the baker and possibly put the baker out of business. If that's the way it goes, then that's the way it goes.
Having just reread the Equality Act, the judges would unquestionably be correct. It's the law itself you consider to be wrong, since it's pretty explicit - refusal to provide a service for a gay wedding that you would provide for a straight wedding is illegal; unless you're a religious organisation.
There are numerous points I could raise here, but there is one that even you cannot dispute. The U.S. Constitution is not binding on the U.K.
UK law enshrines freedom of belief as well of course, although the ECHR notes that
quote:Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
Limits to freedoms are perfectly sensible, since we're all agreed that you can't use religious belief as a legal justification for human sacrifice or something. But I always think the exceptions permitted in the convention are worded far too broadly. The above clause (and there are similar for most rights) seems to me to give an intelligent judge a Get Out of Jail Free card on which he can justify almost any violation of freedoms he feels like. This is why some countries in Europe have been able to ban the wearing of burkas in public, for example. This is interesting because the European Court of Human Rights rejected the French state's argument that a ban was necessary for security reasons, but accepted this, to me, bizarre argument:
quote:The Court takes into account the respondent State’s point that the face plays an important role in social interaction. It can understand the view that individuals who are present in places open to all may not wish to see practices or attitudes developing there which would fundamentally call into question the possibility of open interpersonal relationships, which, by virtue of an established consensus, forms an indispensable element of community life within the society in question. The Court is therefore able to accept that the barrier raised against others by a veil concealing the face is perceived by the respondent State as breaching the right of others to live in a space of socialisation which makes living together easier.