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California court rules in favor of Christian baker who refused to bake cake for lesbian wedding

A California baker has won a lawsuit after she refused to make a cake for a lesbian couple’s wedding – citing her Christian beliefs. 

On Saturday, Cathy Miller, owner of Tastries Bakery in Bakersfield, California, announced that a Kern County judge had sided with her after a years-long battle. 

In 2017, Miller refused to make a cake for a lesbian couple, Eileen and Mireya Rodriguez-Del Rio, citing her religious beliefs as grounds to not make a masterpiece for the pair’s special day. 

At the time, the baker allegedly politely refused to make the cake and gave the couple the name of an alternative bakery. 

But the furious couple lodged a lawsuit against her, claiming that they were being discriminated against. Five years later, Miller announced that she won the legal battle.  

Writing on Facebook, Miller said: ‘Thank you Tastries friends and family.

‘Yesterday, after much consideration and analysis of details regarding the Cathy’s Creations and Tastries Bakery discrimination case, Judge Eric Bradshaw ruled in favor of Cathy Miller.

‘We appreciate your prayers and support as we joyfully continue to do business with you in the future.

‘I’m hoping that in our community we can grow together,’ Miller said, ‘and we should understand that we shouldn’t push any agenda against anyone else.’ 

Kern County Judge Eric Bradshaw sided with Cathy Miller Friday in a suit brought by the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment

This is the California couple who asked Cathy Miller of Tastries Bakery to make their wedding cake in 2017, which she refused to do due to her religious beliefs

This is the California couple who asked Cathy Miller of Tastries Bakery to make their wedding cake in 2017, which she refused to do due to her religious beliefs 

The Thomas More Society, whose lawyers represented the woman, called the win in a California courtroom a ‘First Amendment victory.’  

The organization is a ‘conservative Roman Catholic public-interest law firm based in Chicago,’ according to their website. 

‘We applaud the court for this decision,’ Thomas More Society Special Counsel Charles LiMandri said. 

‘The freedom to practice one’s religion is enshrined in the First Amendment, and the United States Supreme Court has long upheld the freedom of artistic expression.’

The discrimination lawsuit, one of many, had been brought forth by the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment under the Unruh Civil Rights Act.

Another lawyer with the Thomas More Society said that it’s the correct ruling for the woman and the freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment. 

‘There’s a certain irony there,’ said Paul Jonna, Thomas More Society Special Counsel, ‘that a law intended to protect individuals from religious discrimination was used to discriminate against Cathy for her religious beliefs.’

‘Cathy believes in the Bible,’ said Jonna, citing Miller’s belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.  

Cathy Miller, the owner of Tastries Bakery in Bakersfield, California, has won yet another lawsuit claiming that she discriminated against a lesbian couple by refusing to make their wedding cake in 2017

Cathy Miller, the owner of Tastries Bakery in Bakersfield, California, has won yet another lawsuit claiming that she discriminated against a lesbian couple by refusing to make their wedding cake in 2017 

Kern County Judge Eric Bradshaw ruled in favor of Cathy Miller in his decision handed down Friday in a California courtroom

Kern County Judge Eric Bradshaw ruled in favor of Cathy Miller in his decision handed down Friday in a California courtroom

Eileen and Mireya Rodriquez-Del Rio complained after they tried to buy a cake from Miller's bakery for their wedding in October 2017

Eileen and Mireya Rodriquez-Del Rio complained after they tried to buy a cake from Miller’s bakery for their wedding in October 2017 

In their press release, the Thomas More society also shared deposition from February where prosecutors appeared to question Miller’s religious beliefs, which they found ‘disturbing. 

‘Do you try to follow everything that the Bible says?’ asks attorney for the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment, Anthony Mann. 

‘I do my best, but I’m a sinner, but I do my best,’ Miller responded while testifying.

‘Do you follow some of the eating practices from the Old Testament in terms of not eating pigs, not eating shellfish, et cetera,’ Mann said. 

The lawyers for the Thomas More Society said they saw this as a clear violation of her rights. 

‘The state was actually questioning the sincerity of Cathy’s faith,’ said Jonna.

‘The fact that they called Miller’s open and sincerely held beliefs into question is almost as disturbing as quibbling over her status as an artist,’ the lawyer continued. 

‘Miller’s only motivation, at all times, was to act consistent with her sincere Christian beliefs about what the Bible teaches regarding marriage,’ Judge Bradshaw wrote in his decision.  

‘That motivation was not unreasonable, or arbitrary, nor did it emphasize irrelevant differences or perpetuate stereotypes,’ the judge said. 

Bradshaw also said that baking cakes is still an expression of ‘pure speech’ and rooted in artistic expression. 

‘Defendants’ pure and expressive speech is entitled to protection under the First Amendment,’ Bradshaw wrote.

Eileen Rodgriguez-Del Rio posted this message to her Facebook friends in August of 2017, setting off the legal battle between the couple and Miller

Eileen Rodgriguez-Del Rio posted this message to her Facebook friends in August of 2017, setting off the legal battle between the couple and Miller

‘Of course we’re disappointed, but not surprised,’ Eileen Rodriguez-Del Rio said Friday after the judge issued the ruling. 

‘We anticipate that our appeal will have a different result,’ the woman said. 

In 2017, Miller told one local news outlet that she didn’t mean to discriminate, but that the request for her to make a new cake would go against what she believed. 

‘Here at Tastries, we love everyone. My husband and I are Christians, and we know that God created everyone, and He created everyone equal, so it’s not that we don’t like people of certain groups, there is just certain things that violate my conscience.’

Additionally, the woman claimed that she would have been willing to sell the same sex couple a pre-made cake. 

The act of baking and designing a cake, however, is where the line was drawn. 

The lesbian couple on Friday said that they were 'disappointed, but not surprised' by the latest ruling from a California judge

The lesbian couple on Friday said that they were ‘disappointed, but not surprised’ by the latest ruling from a California judge 

Tastries, which has nearly 10,000 followers on Facebook, received dozens of comments on their post Saturday. 

Most commenters seemed to be in support of Miller and Bradshaw’s ruling. 

‘Praise God! May He continue to protect over you,’ said one follower. 

‘Fervent prayers answered,’ wrote another. 

Not all were were so approving of the way that Bradshaw sided, however. 

‘You are not Christians,’ said one person who appeared to be upset over the judge’s decision.

‘You spread a message of hate, you are not Christian, you are evil in disguise,’ the commenter continued. 

Cathy Miller and her husband are dedicated Christians, according to their legal representation

Cathy Miller and her husband are dedicated Christians, according to their legal representation 

This wasn’t the first legal woe for Miller and Tastries. 

In 2018, Superior Court Judge David Lampe ruled in favor of Miller, saying the act of making cakes was ‘artistic expression’ and did not violate California anti-discrimination laws. 

‘A wedding cake is not just a cake in a free speech analysis,’ the judge wrote in his eight-page ruling.

‘It is an artistic expression by the person making it that is to be used traditionally as a centerpiece in the celebration of a marriage. There could not be a greater form of expressive conduct.’

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 2017. 

Cathy Miller has now won several legal battles connected to her refusal to bake the Rodriguez-Del Rios a cake for their October 2017 wedding

Cathy Miller has now won several legal battles connected to her refusal to bake the Rodriguez-Del Rios a cake for their October 2017 wedding

The state ruled in the couple’s favor arguing that the First Amendment did not apply because the couple had not asked for any words or messages on the cake. They issued an order to force Miller to make the cake.

But Judge Lampe rejected the ruling and said his decision was based on the fact that Miller had not yet prepared the cake.

He said it would have been discrimination if the cake was already on display at the shop and Miller refused to let the couple buy it.

‘A retail tire shop may not refuse to sell a tire because the owner does not want to sell tires to same sex couples,’ Judge Lampe wrote in 2018. 

‘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.’

At the time, Eileen Rodriquez-Del Rio said Miller had told them she would take their order, but give it to another bakery to make because she doesn’t ‘condone same sex marriages and will have no part in this process’.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk