According to the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF), a legal organization dedicated to defending the conscience rights and constitutional liberties of people of all or no faith, Superior Court Judge David Lampe denied the State of California’s request for a preliminary injunction that would have forced bakeshop owner Cathy Miller to design wedding cakes for same-sex couples or not create wedding cakes at all. If forced to comply, she faced the possibility of losing up to forty percent of her business as owner of Tastries Bakery.
The dispute began last August when a same-sex couple asked Miller to design a wedding cake for their marriage. Because Miller is a Christian who believes in the biblical concept of marriage as being the union of one man and one woman, she refused. The couple filed a complaint with the state, alleging discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
However, Judge Lampe did not see the case as being about discrimination.
“The State is not petitioning the court to order defendants to sell a cake. The State asks this court to compel Miller to use her talents to design and create a cake she has not yet conceived with the knowledge that her work will be displayed in celebration of a marital union her religion forbids. For this court to force such compliance would do violence to the essentials of Free Speech guaranteed under the First Amendment,” Lampe ruled.
Charles LiMandri, chief counsel in the case and president of the FCDF, who argued in defense of Miller, is pleased with the Judge’s decision.
“Cathy would never discriminate against anyone who walks through her bakery’s doors,” he said. “She will gladly serve anyone, including same-sex couples. But Cathy will not use her artistic talents to express messages that conflict with her sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage. We are pleased that the judge recognized that the First Amendment protects Cathy’s freedom of speech,” LiMandri said.
“This is a major victory for faith and freedom because the judge indicated in his ruling that the State cannot succeed in this case as a matter of law. No doubt the California officials will continue their persecution of Cathy, but it is clear that she has the Constitution on her side.”
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