California Judge Sides With Anti-LGBT Baker

Your wedding, as a — hopefully — once-in-a-lifetime event, is a big deal, and the cake is the centerpiece for a reason: It’s a delicious symbol of love and shared community. So people are understandably pretty choosy about where they buy their wedding cakes.

Sadly, as we’ve learned in recent years, some bakeries seem to think it’s okay to be selective about who they serve, denying service to LGBTQ couples.

The Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado has attracted major headlines, but it’s not the only U.S. bakery that’s chosen to make a legal case out of bigotry. In California, Cathy Miller of Tastries Bakery made a value judgment about a prospective customer when she refused to bake a cake because it “goes against my lord and savior.” Judge David Lampe of Kern County ruled on her side in a discrimination case, using the same logic being advanced in Colorado.

Here’s what happened: The couple, who were already married but wanted a celebration cake, approached Miller to commission one. They simply wanted a cake — no writing or decorations referencing their union. That’s an important nuance, for reasons that will become readily apparent. Miller refused, referring them to a different baker, and they filed a civil rights complaint with the state.

The state argued that Miller was discriminating against the couple, and that she couldn’t fall back on a First Amendment defense. Freedom of religion doesn’t protect the right to discriminate, and, moreover, the state was not requiring Miller to distribute a message – just to sell a cake. But Miller insisted that this would violate her religious convictions.

Judge Lampe decided that the cake was a form of “artistic expression,” even though Miller wasn’t being asked to decorate it. And because the couple wanted to commission a cake rather than buy one out of the case, they were “compelling” her to participate in their celebration of marriage.

This, Lampe insists, is different from other settings in which people refuse service — as, he suggested, at a tire shop, where refusing to sell a pre-made, standardized tire to a gay couple would be discriminatory. He asserted that the couple’s request violated Miller’s free speech — akin to, for example, ordering a painter to produce a work making a political statement they did not agree with.

Yes, even in blue states like California, bigots think it’s acceptable to deny service to people on the grounds of their sexual orientation. And with the Trump administration actively supporting Masterpiece Cakeshop, this case should be viewed as a warning sign.

Republicans are threatening far-reaching “religious freedom” laws that deny people health care and other services, so this case will definitely be one to watch.

A cake might seem like a minor issue in the grand scheme of things, but it’s the tip of a very unpleasant iceberg. If a business can argue that it’s okay to refuse to serve a tasty and beautiful dessert to someone because of who he’s marrying, what’s next?

Photo Credit: Susan Solinski/Flickr

58 comments

John B
John B8 hours ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Mia G
Mia Gyesterday

thnaks for sharing

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Angela J
Angela J2 days ago

Thanks

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DAVID f
DAVID f4 days ago

Thank you

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Shelley w
Shelley w6 days ago

Go to a cake shop that wants to make a wedding cake for you. It does not matter what reason a baker has not to bake your cake, there are many bakers who would be happy to do it. Stop bullying people when you have other options.

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Richard A
Richard A6 days ago

Hate does seem to be a cafeteria-Christian family value.

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Winn A
Winn Adams6 days ago

That judge should lose their job.

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Karen H
Karen H6 days ago

No, Kay B, baking a wedding cake for a same-sex couple does not go against Christian beliefs. Christianity is following the teachings of Christ, who said nothing about homosexuality or same-sex unions. These so-called "Christians" are following the teachings of Paul. Many "Christians" ignore James, who actually knew Jesus, and follow Paul, who never met Jesus other than his alleged vision on the road to Damascus. Interestingly, like Trump tweets, Paul's epistles are chock-full of personal pronouns (I, me, my, mine). He uses them three times more than any other New Testament writer. Paul urged his followers to follow him (rather than Jesus) as he preached a doctrine in the "name" of Christ, yet his teachings were not in alignment with what Jesus actually taught. See John 5:43, which says, "I have come in my Father's name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him." How prophetic. The couple ordered an undecorated cake, not a wedding cake. If the baker has a problem with that, a simple sign would help: "This bakery does not cater to LGBTQ, Muslims or other persons we deem non-Christian." Does this baker make cakes for couples marrying after divorce? That's adultery, and Jesus did talk about that.

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Rosslyn O
Rosslyn O6 days ago

Interesting article and comments

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Debbi W
Debbi W6 days ago

Cathy Miller, of Tastries Bakery, claims to be a Christian, implying that Christ/God would agree with her rude hateful decision not to bake a cake for a LGBQ customer. He visited lepers and people normally avoided and mistreated. Would that God agree with Cathy's decision? I don't think so. She's just another bigot who hates/fears what she does not or refused to understand. If she one only white, straight customers, she should make that clear in her shop. If you are in business, it's assumed that you will serve anyone who can afford your services, products. If you want only straight, white customers, Say So. Specializing in bigotry and hate is a nasty business.

On the other hand, if someone refused to serve me, I would not force the issue or want to do business with them, especially for a wedding cake. The judge was even worse than Cathy Miller. Judges are 'suppose' too leave their personal issues at home, not allow them to influence their decisions.

Trump's nasty, mean, cruel, hateful influence is spreading and it needs to be stopped.

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