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California Judge Gives His Take on Cake Case

The U.S. Supreme Court is currently considering whether a baker in Colorado can refuse to bake a cake for a same-sex couple because it violates his religious beliefs. A California trial court judge has made his own determination on that issue; finding that a baker can refuse to bake the cake.

Mireya and Eileen Rodriguez-Del Rio wanted Bakersfield’s Tastries Bakery to make their wedding day cake. Owner and baker Cathy Miller offered to sell them a pre-made cake but refused to bake one specifically for their wedding day. Ms. Miller has asserted that baking the cake for the same-sex couple would violate her Christian beliefs. The women filed a charge of discrimination with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). The DFEH filed a request for preliminary injunction to compel Ms. Miller to bake the couple a cake.

The Bakersfield state judge denied the preliminary injunction stating: “A wedding cake is not just a cake in a Free Speech analysis. It is an artistic expression by the person making it that is to be used traditionally as a centerpiece in the celebration of marriage.” The judge did not believe that the state could compel Ms. Miller against her religion to use her artistic expression in support of a marriage that she did not believe in. Such compulsion would be a violation of the Free Speech guaranteed under the First Amendment. He asserted that Ms. Miller could not refuse to sell the couple a cake already baked; she could only refuse her artistry to create a cake not yet conceived.