Bakery allowed to refuse cake for gay wedding

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Judge David Lampe ruled on Monday that Cathy Miller, the owner of Tastries in Bakersfield, is entitled to refuse to make custom cakes for same-sex weddings.

Judge Lampe's ruling hinges not just on religious-freedom grounds but specifically on Miller's cake-making as "protected artistic expression", reports the Bakersfield Californian.

An attorney for Mireya and Eileen Rodriguez-Del Rio, who brought the case, was not available for comment Tuesday.

According to court documents from the ruling in favor of Tastries Bakery: "A wedding cake is not just cake in Free Speech analysis".

The baker's website features a long list of example wedding cakes she has made for couples, but under the judge's ruling a lesbian or gay couple would not be able to order one, despite the requirement under his logic for unique artistic expression because the baker would have to recreate it.

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing had sought a preliminary injunction to force Miller to either bake wedding cakes for homosexual couples or stop selling wedding cakes, which comprise 40 percent of her sales.

The Supreme Court of the United States is now faced with a similar case in Masterpiece Bakery Vs.Colorado Civil Rights Commision.

In addition, the state argued, the First Amendment protects only "those occasions where government requires a speaker to disseminate another's message", which was not the case here.

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A California court has ruled that a baker can continue to refuse to make wedding cakes for same sex couples until the outcome is determined at trial.

No word yet on if the Rodriguez-Del Rios will appeal.

His case is set to be heard by the Supreme Court.

In his verbose ruling, Lampe claimed cakes are "artistic expressions". "She will gladly serve anyone, including same-sex couples", Charles LiMandri, Chief Counsel in the case and President of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, argued in her defense at last week's hearing. He was ordered to undergo sensitivity training and provide the Commission with updates on any cake orders he refused and provide an explanation for each refusal.

He said refusing to sell practical use items to a same-sex couple would be illegal, but baked goods are a creative item. "The state is not petitioning the court to order defendants to sell a cake.

We never would have asked you to bake our wedding cake, but we come in here for our birthday cakes because we know you love us as a person". "For this court to force such compliance would do violence to the essentials of Free Speech guaranteed under the First Amendment", he added.

"Cathy was in her bakery when we called and to say the least, she was jubilant and absolutely elated", Piedra said. "But I can not be a part of a celebration that goes against my lord and savior".

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