BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A state judge in California has declined to grant an emergency injunction against a baker who declined a request to make a same-sex “wedding” cake due to her religious beliefs, but also offered to call an accommodating business on behalf of the two lesbians seeking the cake for their event.
Kern County Superior Court Judge David Lampe rejected a motion filed on behalf of the lesbian women, who already “married” in December 2016 and approached Cathy Miller of Tastries Bakery in August 2017 to request a same-sex “wedding” cake. Miller, who had the women try some of her cupcakes while present, also offered to call another baker who could accommodate them as she herself could not be a part of the event.
ABC23 News reached out to Miller about the matter, who explained that will serve anyone, but there are certain events that she cannot have a hand in due to her convictions.
“We’re Christians. We love everyone. God made everyone. It doesn’t matter the color [or] whatever. Everyone is God’s creation and I love everyone,” she told the outlet. “But, there’s certain things that violate my conscience and my conscience will not allow me to participate in things that I feel are wrong, and most of what that’s based on is Scripture.”
“I don’t feel that I should be picked on because of my beliefs,” Miller added.
However, the women, Eileen Del Rio and Mireya Rodriguez, took to social media about the matter and later filed a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), which handles enforcement of the state’s civil rights law. Miller’s attorneys say that she received hateful messages and death threats as a result of the situation.
The DFEH soon Miller placed under investigation, sending her more than forty questions about her professional and personal life. The entity decided to take Miller to court over the matter, asking that it issue an injunction against Miller’s practice of declining to make cakes for same-sex celebrations.
“California respects and celebrates diverse religious beliefs and freedom of speech, but does not create exceptions to its civil rights laws to allow businesses to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation,” Director Kevin Kish said in a statement.
“After a careful review of the preliminary facts, DFEH concluded that legal intervention was warranted to ensure equal access to services and prevent harm resulting from discrimination until our investigation is complete,” he outlined.
However, the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, which is representing Miller, says that the motion for an emergency injunction was filed with little time to respond.
“The government sprung this needless motion on Cathy without notice, forcing her to scramble with less than 12 hours to prepare. This unprofessionalism is just another example of the LGBT activists and their government allies’ crusade to crush Cathy because of her Christian beliefs,” President Charles LiMandri said in a statement.
On Dec. 14, Judge Lampe declined to grant the temporary restraining order because 1) he had not yet heard Miller’s side of the story, 2) the women sought the cake months ago and 3) he wanted to respect the rights of both sides being represented in the matter.
However, Lampe also set a hearing for Feb. 2 surrounding DFEH’s request for a preliminary injunction, which is the normative next step following a request for an emergency injunction.
“To be clear, [Miller] would have gladly sold the same-sex couple anything from her bakery or create a cake for them for another occasion,” LiMandri explained earlier this month. “There is little doubt, however, that the lesbian couple’s purpose for ordering a cake was to destroy Cathy and her business. And now the state of California is all too willing to join in on the warpath.”
“Fortunately, the First Amendment forbids the government from forcing creative professionals like Cathy to express messages that violate their conscience and religious convictions,” he added.