A judge on Monday ruled in favor of a
California baker who refused to serve a gay couple.
While Kern County Superior Judge David
Lampe described the state's “purpose to ensure an accessible public
marketplace free from discrimination” as “a laudable and
necessary public goal,” he concluded that “the right to freedom
of speech under the First Amendment outweighs the State's interest in
ensuring a freely accessible marketplace.”
“The difference here is that the cake
in question is not yet baked,” Lampe
wrote. “For this court to force such compliance would do
violence to the essentials of Free Speech guaranteed under the First
The couple, Mireya and Eileen
Rodriguez-Del Rio, first shared their experience at Tastries Bakery
in Bakersfield last August in a Facebook post.
“Tastries Bakery … so we just went
with some friends to do a cake tasting for a wedding cake and we were
referred to another bakery,” they wrote. “Apparently they don't
'believe' in same sex marriage, so they refused to make the cake.
I'm not even sure how to react or feel right now. So just be aware
if you choose to spend your money there.”
The Department of Fair Employment and
Housing filed the complaint against Tastries and its owner, Cathy
Miller, on behalf of the couple.
Miller, who is being represented by The
Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, told the
Californian that she was overjoyed by the ruling.
In August, Miller told 23 ABC that
making a wedding cake for a gay couple would violate her conscience.
“Participating in a celebration of a
same-sex marriage goes against my conscience. I shouldn't be picked
on because of my beliefs,” Miller said.
The case is similar to one argued last
year before the Supreme Court. A ruling in that case is expected
later this year.
Kennedy sends mixed signals in “gay wedding cake” case.)
(Brief courtesy of Equality