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Failed challenge to Supreme Court’s decision in “support gay marriage” cake case

The Supreme Court previously decided that the Christian owners of a bakery had not directly discriminated against the claimant on the grounds of religious belief, political opinion or sexual orientation by refusing to provide him with a cake that had the words “Support Gay Marriage” on it.

The claimant applied to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) complaining that the Supreme Court’s decision interfered with his rights under the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). Namely, these included the right to respect for private life, the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and the right to freedom of expression. These rights were affected in their own right and in conjunction with the right to prohibition of discrimination.

However, the ECtHR has declared the claimant’s application was inadmissible because the claimant relied on domestic UK laws, which aim to protect consumers against discrimination when they are accessing goods and services. The claimant did not raise the argument relating to his ECHR rights in the domestic UK proceedings, and failing to do so meant the domestic courts could not balance the claimant’s ECHR rights against those of the bakery owners, who had invoked their right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and their right to freedom of expression under the ECHR.