Ashers Baking Co., which was exonerated in Belfast’s legal case involving a wedding cake for two men, will not seek court costs from the Equality Commission of Northern Ireland.

In October five justices of the U.K. Supreme Court ruled that Ashers was not discriminatory when refusing to decorate a cake with a slogan supporting gay marriage. The dispute began in 2014 when gay activist Gareth Lee sued the company for discrimination on grounds of his political beliefs and sexual orientation. Ashers lost the original case and a subsequent appeal.

Ashers is believed to have run up £200,000 in legal fees, while the legal costs of the Equality Commission of Northern Ireland ran to £250,000. The Newcastle-based Christian Institute defended Ashers.

Colin Hart, director of the Christian Institute, said the baker “does not want an unhelpful precedent in relation to costs, even if it might benefit in the short term.”

Hart said the generosity of the institute’s  supporters ensured that Ashers’ owners were not out of pocket for the case.

John Martin