Belfast-based business Ashers Bakery has lost its appeal against a court ruling that its refusal to make a ‘gay cake’ was discriminatory.

The owners of the bakery Daniel McArthur and his wife Amy, who are both Christians, were told by court judges that under law, “bakers were not allowed to provide a service only to people who agreed with their religious beliefs”.

The judge also concluded in a summary of judgment document:

 1.      The appellants had the knowledge or perception that the respondent was gay and/or associated with others who were gay;

2.      What the respondent wanted the appellants to do would not require them to promote or support gay marriage which was contrary to their deeply held religious beliefs;

3.      The appellants cancelled the order as they opposed same-sex marriage, which is inextricably linked to sexual relations between same-sex couples which is a union of persons having a particular sexual orientation; and

4.      The respondent did not share the particular religious and political opinion which confined marriage to heterosexual orientation.

Two years ago, the cake was ordered by gay rights activist Gareth Lee - depicting the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie with the motto ‘Support Gay Marriage’ to mark International Day Against Homophobia.

The cake was declined by the bakery, which led to Lee suing the company on the grounds of sexual orientation.