Judge Rules Custom Wedding Cakes Are 'Artistic Expression'
A California county superior court judge has ruled in favor of an anti-gay Christian baker who refused to sell a same-sex couple a custom wedding cake, citing her religious beliefs. Last August Cathy Miller, the owner of Tastries bakery told a couple she would not bake them a cake and referred them to another baker.
"There could not be a greater form of expressive conduct" than the baking of a wedding cake, Kern County Superior Court Judge David Lampe ruled in his 8-page decision. "A wedding cake is not just a cake in a Free Speech analysis. It is an artistic expression by the person making it that is to be used traditionally as a centerpiece in the celebration of a marriage."
In December Judge Lampe refused to grant California a temporary restraining order barring Miller from selling any item to a different-sex couple she would not sell to a same-sex couple.
"The difference here is that the cake is not yet baked," Judge Lampe wrote in his decision Monday. "The state is not petitioning the court to order defendants to sell a cake. The state asks this court to compel Miller to use her talents to design and create a cake she has not yet conceived with the knowledge that her work will be displayed in celebration of a marital union her religion forbids. For this court to force such compliance would do violence to the essentials of Free Speech guaranteed under the First Amendment."
Many states and LGBT activists argue if a bakery is licensed by the state it must make all its offerings available to all customers.
Miller spoke to a local news station last August after refusing to sell the couple a wedding cake.
"A couple come in, and they were same-sex marriage, so I let them try the cupcakes, and we visited, and I stated with them that a friend of mine who owns, actually, a competitor bakery, but does an awesome job - I would call her and make an appointment because I don't do same-sex marriage cakes," Miller told ABC 23/KERO.
"We're Christians, we love everyone, God created everyone, we love everyone - doesn't matter the color, whatever. Everyone is God's creation and I love everyone. But there's certain things that violate my conscience, and my conscience will not allow me to participate in things that I feel are wrong. And most of that's based on Scripture," she added. "I don't feel that I should be picked on because of my beliefs."
The U.S. Supreme Court in December heard arguments in the case of a Colorado Christian baker, Jack Philips, who also refused to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple over his religious beliefs. A decision is expected in months, likely June.
Hat tip: Bakersfield.com
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