California court rules in favor of Christian baker who refused to bake cake for lesbian wedding
A California Baker has won yet another lawsuit over discrimination claims against a lesbian couple over her refusal to make a wedding cake.
Kathy Miller, owner of Tastries Bakery in Bakersfield, Calif., announced Saturday that a Kern County judge has sided with her after a years-long battle.
“Thank you to the friends and family of Tastries,” the bakery said in a statement Facebook.
“Yesterday, after a lengthy hearing and analysis of the details of the Cathy’s Creations and Tastries Bakery discrimination case, Judge Eric Bradshaw ruled in Cathy Miller’s favor,” the post said.
“We appreciate your prayers and support as we look forward to continuing to do business with you in the future.”
“I hope that in our community we can grow together,” Miller said, “and we have to understand that we shouldn’t push any agenda against anybody else.”
Kern County Circuit Judge Eric Bradshaw sided with Kathy Miller on Friday in a lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment
This is the California couple who asked Kathy Miller of Tastries Bakery to make their wedding cake in 2017, which she refused due to her religious beliefs
In 2017, Miller refused to make a cake for lesbian couple Eileen and Mireia Rodriguez-Del Rio, citing his religious beliefs.
At the time, the baker allegedly politely refused to make the cake and gave the couple the name of an alternative bakery.
The Thomas More Society, whose lawyers represented the woman, called the victory in a California courtroom “a victory for the First Amendment.”
The organization is a “conservative Roman Catholic public law firm based in Chicago,” according to them site.
“We applaud the court for this decision,” said Thomas More Society Special Counsel Charles LiMondry said.
“Freedom to practice one’s religion is enshrined in the First Amendment, and the United States Supreme Court has long upheld freedom of artistic expression.”
Kathy Miller, owner of Tastries Bakery in Bakersfield, California, has won another lawsuit claiming she discriminated against a lesbian couple by refusing to make their wedding cake in 2017.
The discrimination suit, one of many, was brought by the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment under the Unruh Civil Rights Act.
Another lawyer for the Thomas More Society said it was the right decision for the woman and the freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment.
“There is a certain irony,” said Paul Jonah, special counsel to the Thomas More Society, “that a law designed to protect individuals from religious discrimination was used to discriminate against Cathy for her religious beliefs.”
“Kathy believes in the Bible,” Jonah said, referring to Miller’s belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.
Kern County District Judge Eric Bradshaw ruled in favor of Kathy Miller in a ruling handed down Friday in a California courtroom
Eileen and Mireia Rodriquez-Del Rio complained after trying to buy a cake from Miller’s Bakery for their wedding in October 2017.
In its press release, the Thomas More Society also shared testimony from February where prosecutors appeared to question Miller’s religious beliefs, which they found “disturbing.”
“Do you try to follow everything the Bible says?” asks Anthony Mann, an attorney for the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment.
“I’m doing my best, but I’m a sinner, but I’m doing my best,” Miller replied during his testimony.
“Do you follow some dietary practices from the Old Testament in terms of not eating pork, not eating shellfish, and so on,” Mann said.
Lawyers for the Thomas More Society said they saw this as a clear violation of her rights.
“The state really questioned the sincerity of Kathy’s faith,” Jonah said.
“The fact that they questioned Miller’s open and sincerely held beliefs is as troubling as the controversy over her status as an artist,” the lawyer continued.
“Miller’s sole motivation at all times was to act in accordance with her sincere Christian beliefs about what the Bible teaches about marriage,” Judge Bradshaw wrote in his solution.
“This motivation was not unreasonable or arbitrary, nor did it emphasize inappropriate distinctions or perpetuate stereotypes,” the judge said.
Bradshaw also said that cake baking is still an expression of “pure language” and is rooted in artistic expression.
“The defendants’ clear and distinct speech is entitled to protection under the First Amendment,” Bradshaw wrote.
Eileen Rodrigues-Del Rio posted this message to her friends on Facebook in August 2017, sparking a legal battle between the couple and Miller
“Of course we’re disappointed, but we’re not surprised,” Eileen Rodriguez-Del Rio said Friday after the judge handed down the ruling.
“We expect that our appeal will have a different result,” said the woman.
In 2017, Miller told one thing local news agency tshe didn’t want to discriminate, but asking to make a new cake would go against what she believed.
“Here at Tastries, we love everyone. My husband and I are Christians and we know that God created everyone and he created everyone equal, so it’s not that we don’t like certain groups of people, there are just some things that offend my conscience.’
In addition, the woman claimed that she would be willing to sell a pre-made cake to a same-sex couple.
The act of baking and designing the cake, however, is where the draw was made.
A lesbian couple said Friday they were “disappointed but not surprised” by a California judge’s latest ruling
Tastries, which has nearly 10,000 Facebook followers, received dozens of comments on its post on Saturday.
Most commentators seemed to support Miller and Bradshaw’s ruling.
‘Thank God! May He continue to protect you,” said one of the subscribers.
“Ardent prayers received,” wrote another.
However, not everyone approved of Bradshaw taking sides.
“You’re not Christians,” said one man who appeared upset by the judge’s decision.
“You are spreading a message of hate, you are not a Christian, you are evil in disguise,” the commenter continued.
Kathy Miller and her husband are devout Christians, according to their legal representation
This was not the first legal woe for Miller and Testra.
In 2018, Superior Court Judge David Lamp ruled in Miller’s favor, saying that making the cakes was “artistic expression” and did not violate California’s anti-discrimination laws.
“A wedding cake is not just a cake in a free speech analysis,” the judge wrote in his eight-page ruling.
“It is an artistic expression of the person who creates it, which should traditionally be used as a centerpiece during a marriage celebration. There can be no better form of expressive behavior.’
The case began when same-sex couple Eileen and Mireia Rodriquez-Del Rio filed a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing after they tried to buy a cake from Miller’s Bakery for their wedding in October 2017.
Kathy Miller has won several legal battles over her refusal to bake Rodriguez-Del Rios’ cake for their October 2017 wedding.
The state ruled in favor of the couple, arguing that the First Amendment did not apply because the couple did not request any words or messages on the cake. An order was issued to compel Miller to make a cake.
But Judge Lampe rejected the ruling and said his decision was based on the fact that Miller had not yet made the cake.
He said it would have been discrimination if the cake was already on display in the store and Miller refused to let the couple buy it.
“A tire retailer cannot refuse to sell a tire because the owner does not want to sell tires to same-sex couples,” Judge Lampe wrote in 2018.
“No baker should display his wares in a public window, open his shop, and then refuse to sell because of race, religion, sex or gender identity.”
At the time, Eileen Rodriquez-Del Rio said Miller told them she would take their order but send it to another bakery to be made because she does not “endorse same-sex marriage and will not be involved in that process.”