A California judge has made a final ruling in favor of a Christian baker who refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding. The baker’s refusal was based on her claim that making the cake would have forced her to go against her deeply held Christian beliefs and endorse something that she personally disagrees with.
Last August, Mireya and Eileen Rodriguez-Del Rio ordered a wedding cake from Tastries Bakery owner Cathy Miller, who declined the lesbian couple’s request on account of her own staunch opposition to homosexuality. Subsequently, the couple filed a complaint with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, according to LifeSite News. They argued that the state’s Unruh Civil Rights Act should forbid businesses from refusing to provide services on the basis of sexual orientation (among other grounds).
But Miller’s objection was distinctly religious, and therefore was protected by the First Amendment.
“Everyone is God’s creation and I love everyone,” Miller has previously explained, according to My San Antonio. “But there are certain things that violate my conscience, and my conscience will not allow me to participate in things that I feel are wrong. Most of what that’s based on is scripture.”
“The right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment outweighs the State’s interest in ensuring a freely accessible marketplace,” County Superior Court Judge David Lampe wrote in his original decision. “The right of freedom of thought guaranteed by the First Amendment includes the right to speak, and the right to refrain from speaking. Sometimes the most profound protest is silence.”
Miller, the judge explained, was being compelled to “use her talents to design and create cake she has not yet conceived with the knowledge that her work will be displayed in celebration of marital union her religion forbids.”
“Cathy gladly serves everyone who walks through her bakery’s doors, including same-sex couples. But she should not be forced by the government to express messages that conflict with her sincerely held religious beliefs,” said Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund president Charles LiMandri, whose religious liberty organization represented Miller pro-bono. “We are pleased the judge recognized that the First Amendment protects Cathy’s freedom of speech.”
The FCDF is seeking $438,000 in legal fees from the plaintiffs. Lampe’s most recent ruling deemed Miller “the prevailing party for purposes of the fight to recover litigation costs as permitted by law.”
Colorado Baker Jack Phillips is fighting a very similar case, which is currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court of the United States.
(H/T: LifeSite News)