Kern County Superior Court Judge David Lampe has ruled that owner Cathy Miller can continue to refuse to make wedding cakes for same sex couples.
His ruling, on a motion for preliminary injunction, only leaves Miller alone until the full case comes to trial. The next hearing on the case is set for June. But Miller’s attorney said he will move for dismissal of the case immediately because of the strength of Lampe’s ruling.
Lampe’s ruling relied heavily on the First Amendment to the Constitution.
“The State cannot succeed on the facts presented as a matter of law. The right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment outweighs the State’s interest in ensuring a freely accessible marketplace,” Lampe wrote in his ruling on Monday. “The right of freedom of thought guaranteed by the First Amendment includes the right to speak, and the right to refrain from speaking. Sometimes the most profound protest is silence.”
The case, which has received national attention, began in August when Miller – a conservative Christian – refused to make a wedding cake for Mireya and Eileen Rodriguez-Del Rio.
Miller said it went against her Christian beliefs to make a cake for a same sex couple.
The Rodriguez-Del Rioses made a complaint to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing that Miller had violated the Unruh Civil Rights Act.
The Act prohibits public businesses from denying service to anyone on the basis of a number of characteristics including race, gender, religion or sexual orientation.
Lawyers for DFEH filed suit against Tastries and Miller, who was defended pro-bono by the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund.
Miller, at a prayer rally before the court hearing on Friday, said God gave her the ability to make beautiful cakes and she is committed to using it in the way she believes God wants her to.
“If we’re not able to follow our conscience we’re no longer able to be who God created us to be,” Miller said. “I am incapable of doing something that would hurt my Lord and Savior.”
In court her attorney, Charles LiMandri, made the argument that Miller’s free speech rights and her right to free expression of religion trump the state’s arguments that she violated a law against discrimination. The Judge apparently agreed.
Let’e hope this sensible ruling is a precedent.