Bakery at centre of ‘gay cake’ case closes Belfast city centre outlet

Ashers bakers says city centre shop not busy enough and other shops busier

Ashers bakery on Royal Avenue in Belfast. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Ashers bakery on Royal Avenue in Belfast. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

 

The Belfast bakery at the centre of the so-called “gay cake” case is to close a branch in the city.

Ashers was cleared of discrimination by the UK’s highest court after its owners refused to make a cake promoting same-sex marriage.

Its store on Royal Avenue in the city centre is set to close because it is not busy enough following a major fire at a nearby Primark store, which has led to traffic disruption and devastated trading in the area.

Daniel McArthur, general manager at Ashers, said the company had decided not to renew the lease as “Belfast city centre isn’t busy enough”. He said the there would be no job losses as a consequence of the decision.

Legal action

A legal action was originally brought by gay rights activist Gareth Lee, who claimed he had been discriminated against when the firm refused to make him a cake iced with the slogan ‘Support Gay Marriage’.

Mr Lee initially won his case in the county court and then at the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal, but the company then challenged those rulings at a Supreme Court hearing in Belfast in May.

The fire at the Primark store in Belfast destroyed the listed building and a safety cordon has been established around it while engineers carry out inspections. Extra funding and support has been put in place for businesses affected by the fallout from the fire. – PA