Northern Ireland’s Attorney General has been granted permission to become involved in a Christian-run bakery’s appeal against being found guilty of homophobic discrimination.
The court case was put on hold last month following a dramatic intervention from the Attorney General.
Senior judges, including the Lord Chief Justice, issued notices of devolution following legal arguments from John Larkin QC about the lawfulness of legislation at the centre of the case.
His argument concerns Northern Ireland’s particular political and religious equality legislation and the regulations relating to sexual orientation discrimination.
They decided he had raised an arguable case that sexual orientations regulations in Northern Ireland may directly discriminate against those who hold religious beliefs or political opinions.
Lord Chief Justice, Sir Declan Morgan said:
“We are satisfied that there is an issue about whether or not the relevant statutes give rise to direct discrimination issues which is more than frivolous and vexatious.”
This latest development gives Mr Larkin permission to make representations when Ashers Baking Company seeks to overturn the guilty verdict.
Following today’s hearing, a further four days have been allocated for the full appeal hearing starting on Monday 9 May.