Baker can refuse to make wedding cake for gay couple, judge rules

Nellie Chapman
February 7, 2018

Judge David Lampe said the state could not force Tastries Bakery owner Cathy Miller to violate her beliefs because a wedding cake is ultimately a form of artistic expression protected by the First Amendment. However, when they returned for the tasting, Miller canceled and sent them to another bakery.

A decision on the Supreme Court case is expected by next summer.

The case is similar to one argued previous year before the Supreme Court. "The Kleins do not offer a principled basis for limiting their requested exemption in the manner that they propose, except to argue that there are "decent and honorable" reasons, grounded in religious faith, for opposing same-sex marriage", the judge continued. If she had complied in not baking wedding cakes at all she would've lost up to 40 percent of her business.

Judge Lampe said Miller's "freedom of speech" took precedence of the state's stance on same-sex discrimination in the marketplace.

"The State's objective to ensure an accessible public marketplace free from discrimination is laudable and necessary public goal". The law prohibits public businesses from denying service to anyone based on their race, gender, sexual orientation or religion. It would have been a discriminatory act, however, if the cake had been on display in the shop and Miller had refused to sell it to the Rodriguez-Del Rios. There is nothing sacred or expressive about a tire.

"No artist, having placed their work for public sale, may refuse to sell for an unlawful discriminatory objective".

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The judge added the act in itself can not be deemed as discriminatory as the cake in question was not yet baked.

Following their complaint, the state launched an investigation and sought a court order to force Miller to bake the wedding cake. In December, the Oregon Court of Appeals upheld the state labor commissioner's $135,000 fine against the bakery. The State asks this court to compel Miller 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.

Represented pro-bono by the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, Miller was jubilant after the ruling.

"The First Amendment ensures that we all are free to live and work by our religious beliefs". This spring, justices are set to rule on the case of, and will decide whether was illegally discriminating against a same-sex couple when he for their wedding ceremony. "Cathy is asking that these cherished freedoms be preserved-not only for her but for all Californians", the fund said.

"Cathy was in her bakery when we called and to say the least, she was jubilant and absolutely elated", Piedra said.

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