California Baker Does Not Have to Make Same-Sex Wedding Cakes
Judge's latest ruling on free speech and freedom of religious expression bears watching
The right to free speech and free expression of religion for the owner of Tasties Bakery in Bakersfield, California, was upheld earlier this week by Kern County Superior Court Judge David Lampe — and the case is worth noting for a host of reasons.
Cathy Miller, who owns Tasties Bakery, referred a same-sex couple to a competitor rather than create a cake for them herself — and Judge Lampe said she can continue to do so.
Miller’s case closely, though not completely, mirrors another baker’s case that recently captured headlines.
In Jack Phillips’ case, on which the Supreme Court is expected to rule this summer, the Masterpiece Cakeshop owner also declined to design a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. He offered to make a different type of cake — but chose to turn down the request for a wedding cake based on his religious objections to same-sex marriage.
Baker Cathy Miller said the couple that brought the suit, Mireya and Eileen Rodriguez-Del Rio, asked her to create a cake for their event. Miller declined to create the cake based on her religious objections to same-sex marriage, instead referring the couple to a competing provider.
Lampe was careful to indicate the narrow circumstances that justified his ruling. It was “tied closely to the fact that [Cathy] Miller was being asked to make a cake for an event and that the act of creating it was protected artistic expression,” as the Associated Press noted in a piece on the case.
Further, “Lampe cautioned that freedom of religion does not give businesses a right to refuse service to groups protected by the Unruh Civil Rights Act in other circumstances,” according to the Bakersfield Californian.
Despite the victory here for free speech and expression, many people expressed their distaste for the judge’s ruling through vicious public attacks on social media. They posted their reactions on Miller’s own Facebook page, where she routinely shares photos of her impressive culinary creations.
Though she deleted some of the most foul, the attacks just keep coming.
On other social media outlets like Twitter, people even now continue to express strong reactions to the judge’s decision — both for and against.
Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.