A California court has ruled that a bakery owner may refuse to bake cakes for LGBTQ couples because of the owner’s religious beliefs.
Cathy Miller, the owner of Tastries Bakery, refuses to make cakes for same-sex couples because she says doing so would violate her Christian beliefs. California has a law that prohibits discrimination against LGBTQ people, but a lawyer for the bakery argued that Miller’s free speech and religious freedom rights should trump that law.
Kern County Superior Court Judge David Lampe sided with Miller in the case, Department of Fair Employment and Housing v. Miller, but he took pains to make it clear that it’s only Miller’s artistic expression – in this case the process of creating a specialty cake – that is protected. She could not, Lampe said, refuse to allow LGBTQ people to come into her shop to buy mass-produced goods.
“A retail tire shop may not refuse to sell a tire because the owner does not want to sell tires to same sex couples,” Lampe wrote. “No baker may place their wares in a public display case, open their shop, and then refuse to sell because of race, religion, gender, or gender identification.”
The U.S. Supreme Court is currently hearing a similar case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The case involves a Colorado bakery that refuses to prepare cakes for LGBTQ couples in the name of religion.
A decision is expected in the case by July.