Ashers Bakery refused to bake a cake with a 'support gay marriage' slogan

The Supreme Court in the UK has ruled the owners of a Belfast bakery did not discriminate against a customer by refusing to make a cake supporting gay marriage.

In 2014, the owners of Ashers told Gareth Lee they wouldn't create his design, which featured Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie and the phrase ‘Support Gay Marriage’.

There's been a legal battle ever since about whether they broke the law - with a lower court ruling that the decision was discriminatory.

File photo dated 24/10/16 of Daniel and Amy McArthur of Ashers Baking Company. Picture by: Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

However, the UK's highest court has now ruled that wasn't the case.

A panel of justices has decided the bakers didn't refuse to serve Gareth Lee because of his sexual orientation, religion or beliefs.

Speaking outside court, Mr Lee said: "All I wanted was to order a cake in a shop that sold cakes - I paid my money, my money was taken, and then a few days later it was refused based upon the beliefs of the business owners.

"That made me feel like a second-class citizen, and the judgement today tell me that that's okay."

Owner Daniel McArthur, meanwhile, welcomed the decision.

He told reporters: "The judges have given a clear signal today - in fact it couldn't be clearer - [that] family businesses like ours are free to focus on giving all their customers the best service they can, without being forced to promote other people's campaigns.

"This ruling protects freedom of speech and freedom of conscience for everyone."