UK Supreme Court ruling in ‘gay cake’ row

London, 10 October 2018 - Stefan Martin, partner at Hogan Lovells, said: "In the 'gay cake' row, the UK Supreme Court has taken an orthodox and much more limited approach to the extent of protection against associative discrimination than the lesser courts did. For treatment to be direct discrimination because of sexual orientation, it isn't enough for there simply to be something in the mix that has something to do with the sexual orientation of some people.

"In this case there was no suggestion that the owners of the bakery refused to supply the cake because the customer was gay or because he associated with the gay community. Their objection was to the cake's message, not its messenger, so the sexual orientation claim failed. While the Supreme Court recognises the importance of protecting people against discrimination, this did not justify extending protection against associative discrimination beyond what the Court regarded as its 'proper scope'.

"This is likely to make claims involving conflicts of rights – for example between sexual orientation and genuinely held religious beliefs – more difficult to bring in the future."

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