A California judge ruled in favor of a bakery owner who didn’t want to make a cake for a same-sex wedding because of her religious beliefs. Tastries Bakery owner Cathy Miller refused to sell a cake to Eileen and Mireya Rodriguez-Del Rio, who were planning their wedding, selected their cake, and planned to return for the tasting. Miller, however, canceled their appointment and directed them to another bakery.
Miller explained to The Sacramento Bee that she is okay with selling an already made cake to anyone, “But I cannot be a part of a celebration that goes against my lord and savior.”
Kern County, California Superior Court Judge David Lampe agreed with Miller’s lawyer, Charles LiMandri, who argued “that free speech and free expression of religion override discrimination laws,” ILR.com reported.
The judge explained: “A retail tire shop may not refuse to sell a tire because the owner does not want to sell tires to same-sex couples. No baker may place their wares in a public display case, open their shop, and then refuse to sell because of race, religion, gender, or gender identification.”
Lampe further noted that in Miller’s case, being asked to make a custom cake is protected artistic expression, as The Washington Times noted that his ruling stated:
“The difference here is that the cake in question is not yet baked.”
Miller’s attorney told Bakersfield.com that the ruling is a “significant victory for faith and freedom,” however the Rodriguez-Del Rios’ attorney, Patricia Ziegler-Lopez, told the site that they’re “disappointed” in the ruling, adding that the “fight against bigotry and discrimination is only beginning.”
There were plenty of comments about the judge’s decision on social media, with one person explaining simply: “The cake is a product. The baker makes it. He sells it and makes money. Provide the product or shut your doors.”
Another commenter asked this question: “So does this only apply to same sex marriage or is it across the board? What if she refused to make a wedding cake for an African-American couple? Would she still be able to claim ‘artistic expression’ as a defense?”
One person made this argument: “In this instance, why not let the free market sort it out? Look, I’m not even a libertarian, but there’s got to be tons of bakers unless you live in an extraordinarily rural area (Bakersfield isn’t one.) Why go to the homophobic baker? It’s your wedding – don’t you want to support a business that supports your rights?”
Another commenter noted: “Very wrong – if a Jewish family came in for a Bar Mitzvah cake for their son, would she not make it because they aren’t ‘Christian’ – not a good business woman. Customers can make or break your business. Keep religious beliefs out of it.
One commenter pointed out the wording involved, writing: “Simply making the cake is not artistic expression. Decorating it is. The way this ruling is worded, a mechanic can claim changing oil is artistic expression. This will be overruled by a superior court, easily.”