A high-profile discrimination case over a ‘Gay Cake’ has been ruled inadmissible by the European Court of Human Rights.
The case involves an activist’s request for a cake featuring Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie, the logo of LGBT organisation Queerspace, and the words “Support Gay Marriage”. The request was denied by a Northern Ireland bakery.
The European Court of Human Rights refused to rule on the case as activist Gareth Lee had not exhausted all domestic remedies.
“The applicant had not invoked his Convention rights at any point in the domestic proceedings. By relying solely on domestic law, the applicant had deprived the domestic courts of the opportunity to address any Convention issues raised, instead asking the Court to usurp the role of the domestic courts,” the ECHR stated.
This is the latest development in a long-running legal battle, after Gareth Lee pursued legal action against Ashers Baking Co. after the incident occurred in 2014.
The proceedings have played out across multiple courts. While the county court ruled in favour of Lee, finding that the incident was discrimination based on sexual orientation, the British Supreme Court overturned the ruling in favour of the bakery in 2018.
The Supreme Court found that the Christian bakery did not refuse Lee service because he was gay, but because the bakery objected to promoting a message they did not agree with.
Lee said he “very much hoped for a different outcome” and that he was frustrated the case was rejected from the European Court over a “technicality”.
The case was originally ordered to support the same-sex marriage campaign in Northern Ireland.
Gareth Lee’s lawyers are now considering “whether a fresh domestic case is progressed.”