Victory for Christian Baker in California
A Christian baker in California who declined to make a same-sex wedding cake is celebrating a court victory. A Kern County judge ruled in favor of Cathy Miller Monday, Faithwire reported. The ruling comes amid similar ongoing legal battles between Christian bakers and same-sex couples around the nation. One such case is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Miller owns Tastries Bakery in Bakersfield, California. In August, Eileen and Mireya Rodriguez-Del Rio asked Miller create a cake to celebrate their union. Miller declined. Even though the couple says she never mentioned her faith when she turned them away, Miller claims the decision is about protecting her conscience.
“The Stuff of Tyranny”
“If we’re not able to follow our conscience we’re no longer able to be who God created us to be,” she said, according to a report by Bakersfield.com.
According to BakersfieldNow.com, Miller referred the couple to another bakery that would oblige their request.
But the couple sued Miller through the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, claiming Miller didn’t follow the state’s Unruh Civil Rights Act.
Judge David Lampe heard oral arguments on Friday and ruled in favor of Miller on Monday. The decision came in part because the cake had not yet been created. Had Miller refused to sell the couple an existing product, that would be discrimination, the judge decided.
Forcing Miller to violate her beliefs would be “the stuff of tyranny,” Lampe said.
The case before the Supreme Court, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, involves Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado. Phillips’s case began in 2012 when he denied to make a same-sex wedding cake on religious grounds. He also declines to make cakes for other events that violate his beliefs, including Halloween. He sells his pre-made products to anyone. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in this case in early December, and a decision is expected later this year.
That decision will also have ramifications for Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of the now-closed Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Oregon. In 2013, the Kleins declined to make a cake for a same-sex couple’s ceremony. The state of Oregon fined the Kleins $135,000, in effect forcing their business to close. The Oregon Court of Appeals has upheld the fine.