Judge with California baker over same-sex wedding cake

BAKERSFIELD, California– A California judge has ruled in favor of a bakery owner who refused to bake wedding cakes for a same-sex couple because it went against her Christian faith.

The State Department of Fair Housing and Employment has sued Tastries Bakery in Bakersfield, arguing that owner Cathy Miller intentionally discriminated against the couple in violation of California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act.

Miller’s attorneys argued that her right to freedom of speech and expression trumped the argument that she violated anti-discrimination law. Kern County Superior Court Judge Eric Bradshaw ruled Friday that Miller acted lawfully while upholding her beliefs about what the Bible teaches about marriage.

The decision was hailed as a First Amendment victory by Miller and her pro bono attorneys from the conservative Thomas More Society.

“I hope we can grow together in our community,” Miller told Bakersfield, California, after the verdict. “And we should understand that we shouldn’t push an agenda against anyone.”

A spokesman said the Fair Housing Department was aware of the ruling but had not determined what to do next. The couple, Eileen and Mireya Rodriguez-Del Rio, said they are awaiting an appeal.

“Of course we’re disappointed, but not surprised,” Eileen told the newspaper. “We assume that our appeal will lead to a different outcome.”

An earlier Kern County Superior Court decision also went Miller’s way, but was later overturned by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which returned the lawsuit to the district.

The decision comes as a Colorado baker is appealing a conviction that he violated that state’s antidiscrimination law by refusing to bake a cake to celebrate a gender change. That baker, Jack Phillips, separately won a partial victory in the US Supreme Court after refusing to bake a gay couple’s wedding cake on religious grounds a decade ago.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

https://abc7.com/baker-same-sex-couple-cake-christian/12366544/ Judge with California baker over same-sex wedding cake

Laura Coffey

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