California baker can refuse to bake gay wedding cakes, judge rules

A California bakery owner can continue to refuse to bake wedding cakes for same-sex couples because it violates her Christian beliefs, a judge has heard.

The decision came after a lawyer for Tastries Bakery in Bakersfield argued that owner Cathy Miller’s right to free speech and free expression of religion outweighed the argument that she had violated a state anti-discrimination law.

Kern County Superior Court Judge David Lampe agreed, but said Monday his decision was closely tied to the fact that Miller was asked to bake a cake for an event and the act of creating it was a protected artistic expression.

Lampe warned that freedom of religion does not give companies the right to refuse to serve groups protected by Unruh’s civil rights law in other circumstances, the Bakersfield Californian reported.

“A retail tire store cannot refuse to sell a tire because the owner does not want to sell tires to same-sex couples,” Lampe wrote. “No baker can place their products in a public window, open their shop, and then refuse to sell because of their race, religion, gender or sexual identity.”

Miller said it was against his Christian beliefs to bake a cake for a same-sex couple. She told the newspaper that she was pleased with the decision and respects Lampe’s distinction between selling a cake and creating a cake.

“I’m very happy to mean anything from my business to anyone,” she said. “But I cannot be part of a celebration that goes against my lord and saviour.”

A lawyer for Mireya and Eileen Rodriguez-Del Rio, who brought the case, was unavailable for comment.

The decision comes as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to rule on the high-profile case of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

This baker, Jack Phillips, claims his 1st Amendment claims of artistic freedom have been violated.

Comments are closed.