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314 views • October 25, 2022

California Judge Refuses to Force Christian Baker to Make Wedding Cake Celebrating Same-Sex Marriage

NTD News
NTD News
A Christian baker in California has prevailed in a lawsuit that a lesbian couple filed against her for refusing to bake a wedding cake to celebrate their marriage on religious grounds. The left has been targeting Christian bakers for years for political purposes, asking religious bakers that are opposed to same-sex marriage to bake wedding cakes for gay marriages knowing that they'll be met with resistance. When the bakers refuse to make the cakes, these activists sue under anti-discrimination laws, hoping to secure favorable legal precedents. In Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (2018), the Supreme Court sided with a Christian baker whom a gay couple had asked to create a custom cake to celebrate their union. A state human rights commission violated Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips's First Amendment right to free exercise of religion by ruling against him, the court found. The high court will hear a similar case, 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, on Dec. 5. The new ruling (pdf) by Judge Eric Bradshaw of the Superior Court of California in Kern County came on Oct. 21 in Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) v. Cathy’s Creations Inc. DFEH claimed that Cathy Miller and Cathy’s Creations, which runs a small bakery called Tastries in Bakersfield, California, violated state civil rights law and discriminated against Eileen Rodriguez-del Rio and Mireya Rodriguez-del Rio because of their sexual orientation. The two were married in California in December 2016. Miller refused to bake a cake honoring their marriage, citing her sincerely held religious belief that marriage is intended to be between a man and a woman, but referred the couple to another bakery. But DFEH “failed to prove the discriminatory intent required” by state law, Bradshaw determined. “The evidence also affirmatively showed that defendants offered full and equal service to [the couple] by referring them to a comparable bakery,” he wrote. Miller’s “pure and expressive speech is entitled to protection under the First Amendment.” The baking of a wedding cake by Tastries is “labor-intensive” and “artistic,” according to Bradshaw. DFEH is “barred by defendants’ right to Free Speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution from enforcing the [state law] to compel or prohibit defendants’ speech.” “We applaud the court for this decision,” one of Miller's lawyers, Charles LiMandri, partner at LiMandri and Jonna, said in a statement. “The freedom to practice one’s religion is enshrined in the First Amendment, and the United States Supreme Court has long upheld the freedom of artistic expression,” said LiMandri, who's also special counsel to the Thomas More Society, the public interest law firm that acted for Miller's. “There’s a certain irony there that a law intended to protect individuals from religious discrimination was used to discriminate against Cathy for her religious beliefs,” said Paul Jonna, who's also a partner at LiMandri and Jonna and special counsel to the Thomas More Society. Jonna said Miller has mainstream Christian beliefs that are entitled to be respected by the courts. “Cathy believes in the Bible,” he said in a statement. “The state was actually questioning the sincerity of Cathy’s faith.” Jonna noted that Tastries is adorned with Christian decor and plays Christian music over its sound system. “The fact that they called Miller’s open and sincerely held beliefs into question is almost as disturbing as quibbling over her status as an artist,” he said. The Epoch Times reached out to DFEH for comment but didn't receive a reply as of press time.
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