California judge: Baker can refuse service to same-sex couple

Judge David Lampe

A California judge has sided with a baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex couple's wedding because of her religious beliefs. But in the first court action on the case - on a motion for preliminary injunction - Kern County Superior Court Judge David Lampe issued a strongly worded denial to the state, which wanted to immediately stop Miller from making any more cakes.

Lampe cautioned that freedom of religion does not give businesses a right to refuse service to groups protected by the Unruh Civil Rights Act in other circumstances, the Bakersfield Californian reported.

The case was initiated when same-sex couple Eileen and Mireya Rodriquez-Del Rio complained to the California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing after they tried to buy a cake from Miller's bakery for their wedding in October.

"The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered", Lampe wrote.

The ruling, according to Bakersfield.com, only leaves Miller alone until the full case comes to trial, which is set for June.

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Not only is it surprising that a recent ruling went in favor of a Christian baker, it's also a surprise that it came out of a California court.

A California judge ruled Monday that the state can not force a Christian baker to make a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage, arguing that doing so would be a violation of free speech. She told the newspaper she was overjoyed by the ruling and respected the distinction Lampe made between the sales of a cake and the creation of one.

"The case goes beyond just selling a cake", he continued.

Miller, he added, "provided for an alternative means for potential customers to receive the product they desire through the services of another talent" when she recommended the Rodriguez-Del Rios visit a different bakery.

A decision on the Supreme Court case is expected by next summer. The wedding alone, with the couple engaging in speech, "could not be a greater form of expressive conduct".

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"We knew the Lord was in control of this and we did what we were called to do", she said. "The state asks this court to compel Miller against her will and religion to allow her artistic expression in celebration of marriage to be co-opted to promote the message desired by same-sex marital partners, and with which Miller disagrees".

He added that if they had chosen a cake from the window it should have been sold to them.

"For this court to force such compliance would do violence to the essentials of Free Speech guaranteed under the First Amendment", Lampe concluded.

"The difference here is that the cake in question is not yet baked". "But I can not be a part of a celebration that goes against my lord and saviour".

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